It’s a full-out sprint from Thanksgiving to Christmas Day. Every year, I tell myself that I’ll be better prepared for the mad dash of the season next year. And yet, here we go again. I have been fighting pneumonia this week and receiving daily IVs to feel better. Yet, through it all, life keeps racing on.
But in this crazy season, it seems critical to note that the problem isn’t the season. Instead, the problem is how we approach and experience the season.
Here are three things that I am trying to build in my life during this busy season. I trust that they might assist you as well.
What if we were to reestablish our agency over our calendars and build a few simple boundaries to guard our hearts and attitudes?
1. Get Serious About Sleep. Every study on the planet supports that you cannot sustain a healthy physical, emotional or mental life without adequate sleep. Break your pattern of thinking you can power through with just 5-6 hours of sleep. I can assure you that you are not the exception to this rule. Do whatever is required to get your sleep. I went to bed at 8:30 the other night to ensure I got some rest. Before you blow me off with the typical line of “I have no time to rest well,” hear me say that should you choose not to, the universe will ensure that you do – one way or the other. And ‘the other” isn’t the best route – get some sleep!
2. Get Serious About Getting Scripture In Your Soul. When we don’t take the living, breathing Word of God and ingest it daily, we say, “God, I’ve got this. I don’t need you today.” Friends, we have answered that question with a resounding – “not so good!” Even as a pastor, I’ve gone through seasons when I haven’t been disciplined or passionate enough to get God’s Word in my soul daily. Every season I allow that to happen, I suffer from more significant anxiety, negative self-talk, unhealthy relationships, and poor decisions. Every time I am faithful, even to get 5 minutes of scripture in my soul daily, I function at a far higher level. Keep this in mind – The prescription for a messy, hectic life is the calming, directive guide in the Bible – Take your medicine. The more you taste and see that it is good, the more you experience its very nature of love, power, and peace. We all need more love, strength, and peace this season.
3. Get serious About Service. If this is the most wonderful time of the year, why have we made Christmas all about us? The first Christmas was founded as a gift. God the Father sent God the Son as a gift to humanity. A gift designed to be given and received and shown again and again. Friend, if you want to experience the joy of Christmas, give! Serve someone in any way you can, and watch how God uses that gift to bless the one you are serving and you!
There is an old saying that goes:
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.”
Here is an excellent list of reasons to serve others this Christmas season:
1. Helping Others Feels Good
When you help others, it promotes positive physiological changes in the brain associated with happiness. These rushes are often followed by longer periods of calm and can eventually lead to better well-being. Helping others improves social support, encourages us to lead a more physically active lifestyle, distracts us from our problems, allows us to engage in meaningful activity, and improves our self-esteem and competence.
2. Helping Others Brings a Sense of Belonging and Reduces Isolation
Being a part of something other than ourselves leads to a feeling of belonging and provides people with a sense of purpose. It allows people to see beyond their own experiences and builds camaraderie among neighbors, family, and community.
3. Helping Others Helps to Keep Life in Perspective
Many people don’t realize the impact a different perspective can have on their outlook on life. Helping others, especially those who are less fortunate than yourself, can provide a real sense of perspective and make you realize how blessed you are, enabling you to stop focusing on what you feel you are missing – helping you to achieve a more positive perspective on the things that may be causing you anxiety.
4. Helping Others Makes the World a Happier Place Because It’s Contagious
Acts of service have the potential to make the world a happier place. An act of kindness can improve confidence, control, happiness, and optimism. It can also encourage others to repeat the good deeds they’ve experienced – it contributes to a more positive community. We can all agree that is a good thing, can’t we?
5. Helping Others is As Much About You as it Is About Them
Scientific studies prove that the benefits of helping others can last long after the act itself by providing a ‘kindness bank’ of memories that can be drawn upon in the future. It is, in a sense, a long-release medication for the soul.
The Dash from Thanksgiving to Christmas can be brutal, but remember – The problem isn’t the season; the problem is how we handle it!
Get serious about your sleep.
Get serious about scripture.
Get serious about service.
And have a very merry Christmas!
Go in Peace, Chuck