The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

I love this time of year… the holidays as they are called, for me, this really is the most wonderful time of the year. I love everything about the holidays, the Christmas music, the decorations, the social gatherings, heck, I even like the crowded stores. I’m not such a fan of the day after Christmas when we return the clothes that I bought my wife which of course didn’t fit. Even that however has become something of a tradition since it’s pretty much an annual event.

It makes no difference which holiday you celebrate this time of year, Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Three Kings Day, this might be the most wonderful time of the year… or maybe not so much.

For some it may even be the most difficult time of the year.

Perhaps someone is reminded of a family member recently passed. Maybe it’s an estranged family member or friend and their holiday thoughts turn to “if only.” It’s possible that for someone who has outlived most or all of their family members that this is the loneliest time of the year. None of us can know for certain what another person is going through so it’s best not to assume that everyone shares your excitement for this time of year.

If you truly love this time of year it can be hard to imagine that anyone wouldn’t, but the reality is that for many people “the holidays” bring with them a deep level of dread and even depression. 

Don’t be surprised by or insensitive to those who may find this time of year to be the most difficult time of the year. Your “today” has been shaped from the experience of all your “yesterdays” and someone else’s yesterday could have been very different than yours.

Take care to not assume your joy is shared by everyone. For some their heart is so filled with sorrow and regrets that there is little room left for “the holiday spirit.” That said, tactfully share your joy with those who may not experience their own this holiday season. Be extra kind to everyone, your sincere caring and understanding kindness may just be the gift they desperately need during this special time of year.

Start now and who knows, it’s possible that by the end of the year your extra thoughtfulness will have become a habit that continues throughout the New Year. I’m willing to try if you are…are you with me on this one? 

FORGIVE This Holiday Season

(Yes, I know this post is a day earlier than normal but it’s kind of a gift and I didn’t want it to be late)

The song says that this is the most wonderful time of the year. I agree! I think most people would agree with that sentiment as well. Most, but not all.

For some people “The Holidays” are the most difficult time of the year. Family gatherings bring with them heightened levels of stress and remembrances of things gone wrong. Often the memories are downright angry.

Sometimes we carry that anger with us for years and years, the weight of it burdening every holiday and family gathering. Anger wears us out, it limits the joy in life.

So this year, whatever holiday it is you celebrate just let go of the anger long enough to remember the good times. Then just forgive whoever and whatever has stood between you and the good memories.

Now, I know that sounds a little Pollyanna. I know how hard forgiveness can be and I know some people have been deeply hurt by others. Understand I’m not suggesting you forget, I’m hoping you will forgive.

Some of the most generous people will give and give, all while holding tightly to the anger and resentment. I’m suggesting that perhaps you to be even more generous this year and FORgive.

Forgive others because even if they don’t deserve it, you do deserve the peace that comes with forgiving.

It doesn’t matter if they are sorry, forgive them anyway. Even if you don’t want a renewed friendship or relationship, forgive them. Just forgive! Hanging on to anger is just too expensive, in every way you can measure it.

One more thing, while you’re forgiving others don’t forget that you also deserve forgiveness. So if it’s needed, forgive yourself too!

This can indeed be the most wonderful time of the year, but YOU must choose to make it so.