Those presents — that took hours to find and wrap — were torn open in a matter of minutes, leaving your tree feeling rather naked. All that food, prepared with great care, was devoured in 30 minutes’ time. The outdoor light displays, which brought so much sparkle to your neighborhood, now lay unattended on many of the lawns around.
And trash. Let’s talk about trash. I really feel for the garbage collectors this time of year. I don’t know about you, but we needed several extra dumpsters to properly dispose of our evidence of Christmas.
I hope you had a good holiday. However, I also realize that it is often after the buzz of the holiday when sadness and loneliness can set in.
Maybe you only got to see those precious loved ones for a little while. . . maybe not at all. Maybe you are just now counting those Christmas cards, realizing that you received only about half as many as you mailed. Maybe you’re looking around the house and wondering why you bothered to go to so much trouble for such a short burst of holiday fun.
I encourage you to practice positive self-talk when your thinking starts to travel downhill like that. Rather than lamenting the short visit with family (whether in person or by phone), give thanks for the fact that you have people who actually care enough to call at all. Some people don’t have even one. Tell yourself, “I am loved. I am special. I am significant. I matter to somebody.”
When you do your Christmas card sent/received tally, offer thanks for each one received. Tell yourself, “This person thought I was worth taking the time — and 41 cents (plus the price of the card).” Also, don’t get caught in the trap of keeping score. Remember the truth of the season: it is more blessed to give than to receive.
When you get to questioning why you go to all the trouble, be careful! Offer thanks for the fact that you have good-enough health to be able to decorate, cook, shop. . . and all those other things you did to make the season extra special for yourself and those you love. Lots of people are not able to do that. Tell yourself, “I am worth the trouble, even if I’m the only one who got to enjoy it.”
Christmas and its aftermath are like everthing else in life. It’s what you make it. As you head into the last week of 2007, take some time to reflect on the blessings you have received. Take some time to thank God for the opportunities you have had to be a blessing to others.
And take some time just to celebrate you. You’re worth it, you know?