It’s actually a good thing we don’t even get the Hallmark Channel because I would not be very productive. Like at all. Instead, I make myself earn a movie break during the holidays and watch online about once a week. I may have a problem, y’all.
I know that not everyone shares my affinity for all things Christmas during this time of the year.
Can you believe there are people that get sick and tired of Christmas music? I can’t even fathom. Though, I’ve been told this is because I’ve never worked in retail.
I can walk through a park filled with Christmas lights and just melt. I watch a lovely Christmas concert and fight back the tears through most of the show. I experience a candle-lit Christmas Eve service and feel the love of my God flowing through my veins.
But I know…not everyone experiences Christmas this way.
In fact, studies show that the holidays can be some of the most miserable times for people. Anxiety and stress can be all consuming. Heck, even I, a self-proclaimed Christmas aficionado have struggled with this. Depression can set it when folks are consumed by the loss of loved ones or loneliness. A feeling on inferiority can take over when you watch the world around you spend, spend, and spend at Christmastime. How do you give more to others when you have nothing to give your own family?
When your surroundings become a holiday craze, the joyous sounds of Christmas can be deafening. The holiday events can make you feel isolated and alone rather than blissful and jubilant. So, how do you go about spreading Christmas cheer when you are down in the dumps?
If you are thinking, “singing loud for all to hear,” you’re not totally wrong… 😉
Glorify & Rejoice
“Ba-Humbug!” “You’re a Grinch!”
We use such negative terms for Christmas curmudgeons. But is that really fair?
I may love Christmas time…but I’ve experienced the tough years in which I’ve had to almost force myself to participate in the magic of the season. So I’m not going to judge anyone that is struggling to put a smile on their face during this time of the year.
However, that doesn’t lessen my desire for every person to experience joy at Christmas.
You know that moment, in the movie Elf, when Buddy gets so super-excited about Santa coming to the toy store? He can barely contain himself and he wants everyone to know how amazing Santa is. I feel that way about my Jesus, God’s gift to all of His children. Christmas seems like the perfect opportunity to share the love of Jesus with others. In living out my festive and exuberant love for Christmas, I can choose to give all the glory back to God. In rejoicing the birth of my Savior, I am filled with Christmas Spirit.
Mary’s words in this verse exemplify Christmas Spirit. And in my experience, Christmas Spirit can be contagious.
Spreading Joy by Giving Back
So how do you share Christmas Spirit with others? How do you spread joy at Christmas?
By giving back. By living out the Christmas Spirit in word, deed, and action.
- Send Christmas Cards: I’m guessing you probably already send out Christmas cards. But do you send out cards with the intent of sharing joy and sending love? Could you take the time to add a personal note to your photo cards this year? What about choosing a Christian card that portrays the message of the Nativity? Can you add some people to your card list that you may have overlooked?
- Donate Toys: Do you donate to Toys for Tots? Maybe you can do a little homework to find a local nonprofit that would accept gently used toys for children that may not otherwise experience the joy of opening a gift on Christmas morning.
- Bake & Share: I’m thinking you already do a fair share of baking at Christmastime. With a little prep work and planning ahead you can easily share baked goods with those around you. The next time you have to bake for an event or gathering, double the recipe and give extras to your neighbors or co-workers. You could even package them up very simply and include a Christmas Bible verse on the tag.
- Companionship: There are always people that feel alone during the holidays. Consider boosting the spirits of lonely nursing home residents by stopping by for an afternoon activity. Visit a relative that doesn’t get out much. Take cookies to a shut-in that lives on your street.
- Share Warmth: Most shelters welcome blankets, mittens, scarves, and gloves for the homeless. You can purchase them on sale or get crafty and make your own. Attach a little tag with a Christmas message of love and spread joy and warmth this season.
- Angel Tree Giving: Wildland Man and I have moved around a bit, but I have found that most communities will have some form of an Angel Tree available around the holidays. Typically, you just grab a tag off the tree and purchase the requested gift for the child or person listed. There is usually a range of ages and spending budgets to choose from.
- Brighten a Hospital Room: Christmas is not a fun time to be stuck in a hospital room. Buy a bouquet and drop it off at a nurse’s station asking them to give it to the patient that needs it most. Drop off some blankets to a cancer treatment center. Give some children’s books to the pediatric unit. You don’t need to know anyone in a hospital to brighten the spirits of a patient this year.
- Military Care Packages: Do you know someone that is stationed overseas this Christmas? All it takes is a little asking around to find out who could use a Christmas care package in the military. There are even certain charities that will ship care packages to soldiers with your financial donation. While these soldiers are fighting for our freedom and missing out on time with their families, you can spread a little bit of joy across the world with a simple package.
- Invite Others to Church: When is the last time you invited someone you know to attend church with you? Sometimes it takes a few invitations. Christmas is a time for soul searching. Even if they’ve said no before, ask again. You never know when they might say yes.
So even if you are finding it hard to be joyful this year, maybe you can be brave and choose just one idea to try out this Christmas. Perhaps, in the act of spreading joy when you are struggling to find it yourself, you might just receive it.
We are quickly approaching Christmas day. If you are finding yourself struggling to rejoice, remember He works all things for good (Romans 8:28). Even if you can’t see it right now, trust that He is doing a good thing in you. He is using you. He is writing your story. And if you let Him, He will use your hardships to bring all glory and honor to Him, bringing others closer to Him in the process.
I’m praying for you, my precious readers. Would you pray for me? I pray we might be able to share the joy of this season with those that need it most. I pray that our words and actions might bring glory to God our Father. And I pray, that this Christmas, we may worship more joyfully. Because it is in this worship that we can fully experience the peace that He brings.
Let’s search our souls as sweet Mary did so many years ago. Let us rejoice and shout, “Joy to the World!”
Let’s chat! I want to hear from you, my friends…just type your comment at the bottom of the page:
What other ideas can you share for spreading joy this Christmas?
What are some ways that you try to give back at Christmastime?
In what ways can you reach out to someone who may be struggling to feel joy this Christmas?