Saturday, January 2, 2010

How to Keep Christmas All Year

Christmas is over. *sigh* As the New Year celebrations die down, and everyone begins to pack away their festive decorations and sparkly lights a severe case of post Christmas blues has plagued me. I am sure some of you have also experienced this melancholy feeling. We look forward to Christmas for so long (or at least I do). Everyone is filled with the joy and anticipation of the season. But as soon as the last gift is unwrapped, and the final ornament is tucked away in an obscure box that won't be seen again until after Thanksgiving, an odd sadness seems to come over me. So, how do we keep the spirit of Christmas alive when the lights are no longer up, and we aren't singing carols around the Christmas tree? How do we keep the joy of Christ's birth in our hearts, and on our faces? Surprisingly it doesn't require leaving your Christmas tree up all year round, or singing Christmas carols once a week. Here are some helpful, and practical ways to remain joyful throughout the year (without mistletoe or candy canes).

1. Keep Giving
Christmas is a season of giving. We get excited about finding the perfect gift for that special someone, and we cannot wait to see their face when they open it. Giving increases to charities as we care for those less fortunate than ourselves. Giving is a big part of Christmas... giving to others is a wonderful feeling. We can keep the spirit of Christmas alive if we continue to give. As we continue to bless others we will be blessed. I really don't think that the Lord intended for us to only give at Christmas time anyway. :)

2. Count Your Blessings
Around the holidays we often reflect on the ways we have been blessed throughout the previous year. We remember and share memories, and we make new ones. As we are surrounded by family and friends all filled with the joy and hope of the birth of Christ we realize how blessed we are. Christmas may be past, but never forget to count your blessings, and as you do you will experience a bit of Christmas joy no matter what time of year it is.

3. Spend Time With Family
Christmas for many people is a time when we reunite with loved ones that we may not have seen since the Christmas before. As we catch up with each other we are encouraged and inspired by their stories, the struggles they endured and the victories they experienced in the last year. Families are wonderful if your spirit needs refreshing and your heart needs encouragement. Spend time with your family, even if things are busy. We tend to get caught up in the busyness of the world after Christmas is over, but take time to listen to the stories that your family has to share, they can inspire and encourage you all year long.

4. Be Reminded
As Christians our focus at Christmas is the birth of Christ. But when December slips away and January dawns we seem to forget why we celebrated Christmas at all. We get swept away in the rush of life, and we fail to remember the beautiful gift we received on Christmas through the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus is not only the "reason for the season," but the reason for life. I encourage you to keep a subtle reminder of that great gift close by throughout the year. A small nativity scene would be a wonderful way to remember why we celebrate Christmas, and to keep a little Christmas joy with you throughout the year.

If you have any additional ways that we might drive away the post Christmas blues and keep the spirit of Christmas alive all year long, let me know by commenting. Joy to the world, the Lord is come!

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