Christmas is the wonderful celebration of the birth of Jesus whereby families are able to come together to spend quality time with one another, but is that always the case? The festive season can bring about a mix of emotions for people, such as fear of the new year and fear of being alone. What if you’re not fortunate to be with your family this coming Christmas, or you don’t have family full stop? There’s no shame in asking to spend the holidays with a friend if you’re not able to spend it with your own loved ones. Whilst I enjoy the company of others during this period I’m also a believer in spending reflective time alone to examine the year and set goals for the upcoming year.
I remember Christmas two years ago and for want of a better word I was a mess, for several different reasons which I won’t elaborate on now. I was just not a very happy girl which made me very snappy and intolerable towards those close to me. I still engaged in the usual festive activities such as our annual Christmas Eve outing but on the inside I was literally dying and once the music stopped and everyone went home, the tears fell. So, I know what it’s like to be surrounded by people but feel so alone. This experience was a reminder for me that our happiness cannot come from anything or anyone but ourselves. We hold the key to our joy, and whatever threatens our peace and joy, needs to be eliminated. Admittedly it’s not easy to walk away from things and people who no longer serve their purpose but one thing I do not like doing is taking any negativity into a new year.
Perhaps that’s why last Christmas was a very different experience for me. It was the first time I had spent Christmas abroad and I wasn’t with my immediate family. I had decided to take my best friend away to Marbella as a surprise for her birthday and then a few days later I went to Nigeria to see my extended family and spend Christmas with my other best friend’s family. Christmas 2015 was fun to say the least, but what made Christmas 2015 different to Christmas 2014? My friends were the same, my family were all still around, so the only thing that was different was ME.
This year I’ve decided not to attend the usual festive activities such as Winter Wonderland etc, just because I have done so in the past and this year I just want a quiet one to be honest (maybe I’m feeling a bit sorry for myself because I’m not going to Nigeria this Christmas). Regardless, I’m conscious about engaging in activities that are going to elevate my mind and not put an unnecessary dent in my bank balance. Here’s a few events that I have bought tickets for this December, if your free come along.
- Ladies Lead The Way Conference on the 2nd December 2016
- LSBookClub End of Year Brunch on the 10th December 2016
My focus has definitely shifted over the past few years. I am so much more intentional about not making the same mistakes and continuing to move forward no matter what happens in life. This allowed 2016 to be the year that I was intentional about guarding my heart. I can honestly say this year has been a peaceful one. I haven’t cried because some inconsiderate man hurt my heart, I have travelled abroad (four times to be precise), I received a promotion at work and I went back to Uni (I can’t help myself) and yet I could sit here and feel sorry for myself because I’m single or because I’m not a millionaire but what use is it in focusing on what I do not have when I could be grateful for what I do have. It’s exhausting focusing on the things that you cannot change and that make you sad. Therefore, Christmas will remain one of my favourite seasons. It’s a time for love to prevail and for us to be grateful for those who have stuck with us to date and most importantly it’s a time for giving.
The gift of giving to those less fortunate than yourself should also be something that we should strive to do generally but especially during the festive period. I know people who serve lunch/ dinner to the homeless and elderly on Christmas Day. We must learn to consider those who are way less fortunate than ourselves and those who are alone. The church I attend collects items for children from underprivileged backgrounds and this project is called “Love in a Box” which is led by the children’s church. It teaches them to have a heart of giving and to be grateful for their many blessings. I am also part of a department who collects non-perishable food items for families in need and we deliver food parcels to them in preparation for Christmas. It’s a joy to be able to bless someone who is in need, no gift is too small. So many people are not able to provide the luxuries that we usually engage in during the Christmas holidays. If you speak to those who are in need whist they appreciate the food they mostly appreciate the company and the time that someone has taken to show that they care.
Remember to have a heart of thanksgiving this Christmas. 2016 may not have been the best year for you but I’m sure if you shift your focus and look at the blessings that you take for granted you’ll realise that the year hasn’t been as bad as you perceived it to be. There’s something I saw on Pinterest and my beautiful sister friend gave me something similar when I passed my Masters a few years ago. It’s a jar that you fill with notes about all the good things that have happened over the year, that you are able to look back on and realise that things really weren’t as bad as you thought they were.
Yes, Christmas is the season to be jolly, but it is also the season to be thankful and to give to others less fortunate than yourself.
Be a Blessing