By Mike Traylor, LMFT
Christmas—It’s Not About You!
Have you ever had someone make that statement to you? That comment could drive you to be defensive or move you to be introspective. I have had my pastor, my wife, and even a friend make that same statement to me before. Depending on how and when that statement was said, it influenced my response and reaction. It really is not about you.
If you have read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, the first chapter states, “It’s not about you. The purpose of your life is far greater than your personal fulfillment, your peace of mind, or even your happiness. It’s far greater than your family, your career, or your wildest dreams and ambitions. If you want to know why you were placed on this planet, you must begin with God. You were born by his purpose and for his purpose.”
The holiday season starts earlier every year. I was hearing Christmas music the first week in November this year and seeing Black Friday advertisements. The commercialization of Christmas is starting way too early and too long. This causes the focus of Christmas to become about events, parties, and gifts.
While there is nothing wrong with any of these, is that what Christmas is really about? I find that many people are depressed, lonely, or stressed during the holiday season. Most of us ignore balanced diet guidelines, overspend our holiday budgets, and overextend ourselves. Many times, all these factors contribute to a not-so-Merry Christmas.
What can help make Christmas less self-centered, stressful, or commercialized?
- Think about others. There are many people that have lost someone close to them over the last year, which will make this holiday season tough on them, so be sensitive. Some people may be alone this Christmas, so why not invite these folks into your home for a Christmas meal. One idea might be to take your family out to visit the elderly at a nursing home. Help those who are lonely or disconnected this time of year while being engaged with them.
- Give—of your money or time. There are children in your community who do not have parents. A small gift may mean the world to them and your life may be a strong influence to their self-esteem and worth. If you do not have time, help support those who do. Many churches reach out to children in the community that have needs all over the world this time of year.
- Remember it is not about you. Find your purpose and meaning this time of year in the One who gives purpose, Christ Jesus. Read the story of Jesus’ birth to your family and friends out of Luke 2. Connect the dots and see how his story impacts your story. Be thankful for what God has done in your life through the gift of his Son.
You can increase your own sense of wellbeing through your focus on others. This will bring you more peace, less stress, and make you feel better. Do your part in bringing to someone else a Merry Christmas. You will be glad you did.
Mike Traylor is a Marriage and Family Therapist at Summit Counseling and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.