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The Most Wonderful Time of Year?

The end of the year holiday season is upon us and I am looking forward to the most wonderful time of the year! Well, sort of. For many of us, the season is also a most stressful time of the year with many expectations swirling around family gatherings, work gatherings, extra spending, gift-giving, traveling, memories of departed loved ones, food prep, and the pressure to be merry. Here are some suggestions for helping us get through the holidays.

  1. Know your boundaries - Participate when you feel comfortable and feel free to say, “No, thank you” when you don’t want to participate.

  2. Know your priorities - What is most important to you over the next few weeks? Family, faith, giving back, your personal sense of well-being? Evaluate your activities through your priorities.

  3. Recognize your negative emotions - guilt, fear, tension - and ask yourself if you are doing something because of these emotions. Do things that elicit a more positive vibe for yourself.

  4. Striving for perfection can rob us of joy. “Good enough" is acceptable.

  5. Set your own standards. Competing or comparing yourself with others undermines your satisfaction with doing what you can and being content.

  6. Know your limits when it comes to time, energy, and money.

  7. Plan ahead as much as possible so you don’t feel rushed.

  8. Make space for the heart of the season. Christmas is the celebration of God’s gift to the world in the person of Jesus of Nazareth. The story is memorable and tender. Let God’s love touch you.

  9. Take care of yourself. Take a nap. Watch your favorite holiday movie. Enjoy a good book. Take a walk in nature.

  10. Christmas happens every year. Learn what worked for you this year and what did not. Remember there's always next year.

  11. Please do not try to implement this entire list this season. Take what is helpful and leave the rest.

I pray that this time of year brings you hope, peace, joy, and love. Lee Lever, Transitional Pastor Houston Mennonite Church

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