The holidays are HERE! We are in the dead center of the holiday season!
Lights are up, trees are decorated, baking is ensuing, Christmas cards are being mailed, big bucks are being dropped on gifts for loved ones, sales are happening, Holiday favorites and the hallmark channel are on repeat. Some places it’s snowing, parties are happening, and people are traveling.
We keep hearing about this “Holiday Cheer.” This phrase is in songs, movies, on my coffee mug. The definition of the word cheer is this:
“cheer: 1. Shout for joy or praise or encouragement. 2. Give comfort or support to.”
We are all fairly good at holiday cheer #1. Shouting for praise, woohoo-ing for joy… I swear I made some molasses cookies and the were so good because I baked them with holiday cheer… joy and encouragement–you will taste good little molasses cookies! They did.
But here are some truths about the Holiday Cheer.
1. Not everybody has Holiday Cheer.
I think most people out there know this truth, but don’t actively think about it. Not everyone out there is enjoying their holiday cheer (definition 1) of being joyful and happy. Life circumstances can really put a damper on this time of the year. Whether it’s a military family who has one parent deployed, a person suffering from depression, a loved one has been lost or is estranged, job losses, or divorces. There are so many life happenings and the holidays don’t slow down for some people to process or enjoy them. This leads me to truth number 2…
2. Many people aren’t aware of the gravity of those suffering with truth number 1.
Sure, we help donate food or toys to those in need. And these things are important, don’t get me wrong. I work with families first hand who are so appreciative of the giving spirit of others at Christmas time. However, what are we doing to really help our fellow man who are suffering internally during this time? Giving a gift and buying food is great, but how can we reach out and really be there for our military families, families struggling with a loss, or depression? I don’t think there’s one answer or that we can even fix it. But I encourage you to really focus on the second definition of cheer–giving comfort and support. That doesn’t just mean giving a box of stuffing or toy. Buying things is easy–committing to relationships is hard. I encourage you to really think who could use your words of encouragement or maybe simply your presence this holiday season. For some people they may just need the material things or physical help to ease a burden. For others, they may need that link, connection, or friend. Be that person. Listen to your spirit.
3. You don’t have to wait for the holidays to spread cheer.
Why is it that we need the “holiday spirit” to give more? Why can’t we maintain this spirit year round. I don’t mean necessarily with material things, but even with spreading the joy and encouragement. Would this world looked any different if we did some of the same things year round that we do at Christmas? Giving to others with our finances and time, sending family updates (why do we wait to talk to some people when we send out holiday cards?!), thanking the Lord for sending His son to us?
I encourage you to make the holiday spirit a reality in your daily life. Spreading joy, love, friendship, and helping others not because it’s Christmas, but because it’s life-and sometimes life gets us down. All somebody may need is just simply your presence, smile, or seeing the Jesus in you.