This time of year has always been my favorite. The weather begins to turn, Christmas lights start appearing around town, and so starts the season Christmas music on the radio! Of course, I’m one of those people that could listen to Christmas music all year long. This time of year provides a certain awareness. For me it’s awareness of my faith, of the kindness that I see in people, and of the connection I have with others in my own life. I experience a genuine shift in people and with everything going on in our world today, it’s a welcome shift.
My personal experience has a lot to do with memories that I have growing up with family and friends. As I get older, my appreciation for their impact on my life is more than words can say. Sharing my youth, and specifically holidays, with a large extended family provided a foundation of love and safety. Between these memories, and my faith (admittedly didn’t take hold until young adulthood), Christmastime just feels good.
I wish everyone experienced the holidays as I do. Unfortunately, many of us struggle this time of the year due to either a lack of faith and family, or perhaps the loss of one of these. That sadness that clouds the season shows just how important these things are to us. It shows the care and the love in our hearts for which we may be longing. The holidays can feel a bit like social media if you think about it. When life brings happiness and meaning, seeing others share happiness feels good. When life feels like a struggle, it’s hard to see others thrive.
This makes it even more important to be giving of our hearts this time of the year. Welcoming someone into your heart can literally save a life. Even small acts of kindness like holding a door open for someone, or a simple smile (yes, others can even see us smile under our masks), make a difference. Reaching out to someone with which we haven’t kept in contact or trying to mend a relationship are ways to open our hearts. We can also use the Advent season to reincorporate prayer into our lives if we’ve allowed distractions to get in the way.
Often times I worry so much about myself, that I do lose that focus on others. Focusing on others just feels good, and I guess that’s why I love this time of year. Maybe if I keep Bing Crosby in the playlist, I can hold on to that Christmas spirit all year long…
Chris Guzniczak, LPC
Flower Mound Counseling, PLLC