First and foremost, I hope that you and yours have a marvelous celebration this season and that you start the year off feeling loved!
My views tend to not be extreme in any direction. Unusual? Perhaps, but not extreme. I don’t think that “all or nothing” works well in any arena — politically, socially, nutritionally, religiously — so, I wanted to share a point of view or idea relating to Christmas (or any Christian holiday, really) that may not typically get much air time: evaluate everything, but whatever you decide is a-ok.
Christian holidays are traditions more than anything else. One’s salvation doesn’t depend on the adherence to or fervor with which one participates in any of them, and yet, in many ways, we tend to treat them like it does.
Please don’t misunderstand: I am not saying that there is anything wrong with traditions or celebrations or participating with fervor — I’m a big fan of celebrations! I’ve always thought that traditions should be reexamined from time to time, though.
Why am I doing what I’m doing?
What is it costing me — mentally, physically, emotionally?
Is it worth it?
Do I want to continue perpetuating this tradition?
Sometimes, the answer is “Absolutely!” Sometimes it isn’t. And if, at some point in your life, the answer is “no,” that doesn’t mean it has to be “no” for the rest of your life — you get to reevaluate any and all traditions as frequently as you need.
Generally, whenever I decide not to participate in a tradition (any tradition, for any length of time), there are people who end up not talking to me anymore because they see this choice as a judgment on their decision to participate… but it’s not. It’s really no different than choosing to eat in a certain way that serves you better at the time. For example, if I decided that maybe my relationship with alcohol wasn’t healthy or wasn’t serving me well and I wanted to step away from that for a while (or indefinitely), that wouldn’t have anything to do with you or your relationship with alcohol and I definitely wouldn’t associate the two.
Things I Love Seeing Around the Christmas Holiday Season
Family jokes bubbling up to the surface.
The opportunity to say things we may not take the time to say otherwise.
Taking the time to sit and listen to each other.
Thinking of other’s needs.
Treats for the pets.
Things That Give Me Pause
Lying to the kids.
Competition / ongoing rivalries.
Living the checklist / forgetting the experience.
The “me, mine, I, want” mantra.
Demanding to be served.
What concerns me about this time of year is that many people don’t have a healthy relationship with the season and have never been told that their participation in anything that is torturous, stressful, or anxiety-causing is absolutely optional.
I neither advocate for nor protest against Christmas celebrations. Rather, I encourage each and every person to evaluate how they spend their time and energy, making conscious choices to participate in celebrations that build them up and strengthen their relationships, while also choosing to let go of those that break them down, open old wounds, perpetuate unhealthy situations or relationships, and dampen their joy.
Remember to reevaluate your choices, too! At any point, you can pick up or set down whatever is or isn’t working for you. You can even introduce new traditions that fit better!
The point is: I love you and want to see you thrive.
This means making conscious decisions about how you want to spend your time and energy.
And it’s all optional.
Wishing you so much love and joy!