Mixed Feelings Around the Holidays? Do this!

When the holidays are right on top of us, it’s not uncommon to have mixed feelings. You want to enjoy the season but (and that’s the problem) there is a but. “So and so” is coming and when he does, there is always more tension in the air. Or, you are looking forward to the holidays, but it is a lot of work! Or, you wrestle because with all the hustle and bustle the real meaning of Christmas just seems to get forgotten. Or, this year it’s going to be different because someone you love is no longer here. That one’s hard; real hard.

Whatever the reason, you have mixed emotions about the Holidays. What do you do?

First hear this: you are not crazy for feeling the way you do!

You are not crazy and you are not alone. Many of us have mixed feelings. In fact I would go so far as to say most everyone does to some degree if they are honest. It is normal. It is called ambivalence–when you experience two or more opposing emotions or thoughts at virtually the same time. Ambivalence is what you feel every morning when the alarm goes off. You want to get out of bed, but you don’t want to get out of bed. You probably experience ambivalence numerous times throughout every day. And when the holidays come around, it’s not any different. You look forward to them in some ways, and in other ways maybe you don’t.

Second, remember there is reason for your mixed feelings.

Take some time and consider each of the ambivalent thoughts and feelings you experience. There is story behind each one. There is a reason why you feel each feeling the way you do and why you think each thought that you have.

Consider each of the following:

Of course you have misgivings about “so and so” coming over. If having him/her around causes tension in the air, no one enjoys that. Hence, mixed feelings. You want to enjoy the day, but can’t when you feel tense.

You look forward to the festive parts of the Holidays, but if you are the host or hostess, let’s face it – it can take a lot of work! It’s tiring! And that can rob you of some of the joy.

You know deep down inside it’s not about Santa, and lights, and partying. It’s about love for each other, and love from One who chose to show love 2,000 year ago by sending the world His Son. But sometimes we forget.

Or, spending this Christmas without that special one you loved so much – is very difficult. You want to enjoy the time, but how can you when you sorely miss the one you love?

Mixed feelings. Of course. And they make sense.

It’s OK.

Third, take time to PAUSE and reflect.

You need time to remind yourself of everything you just read. You aren’t crazy. There is a reason for everything you are feeling. It makes sense. You are Ok.

You also need time to capture your thoughts and dial down your emotions so you can re-focus once again on what matters most. For me, I aim take each moment I have and make it count in the best way I know how. Central to this is the four letter word:  L  O  V  E.  I have lived long enough in life to know that nothing matters more than loving well. It is what matters most.

Fourthly, decide to love as best you can.

Take time to enjoy each one present. Smile at them. Listen to them. Keep in mind each person has a history, a story they have been a part of that formed who they are. And each one is in want of being loved, whether they acknowledge it or not. Showing love will be easier in some cases more than others. At times it will be a joy, and other times feel nearly impossible. When it’s the latter, consider those who have loved you at times when you were most unloveable. Then seek to love those around you in the same way.

Finally, whether you know this to be true in your life or not, there is a God who loves you even when you are at your worst. God knows we are all in need of being forgiven for things we have done or said. None of us have loved those around us perfectly. In truth we have fallen far short of that. And when we face that reality, it feels bad inside. Therein lies the blessing of being forgiven. God stands ready to forgive us for loving imperfectly — to rid us of those bad feelings. He wants to go even further than that. He wants us to experience being fully and completely loved. And He invites us to follow Him, so that we in turn can love others as He has loved us.

That’s what Christmas is all about.

Jesus was born to show you, and me, and the entire world the full extent of love. Our prayer is that wherever you are in your spiritual journey, you will know and experience His love in a greater way than you do now. And for all who follow Him may you be strengthened this season and in the coming New Year to demonstrate His love to those around you.

Merry Christmas!