With Thanksgiving and Black Friday safely behind us, we move forward now fully entrenched in the holiday season. Unfortunately, for many (most?) that means overwhelm from shopping, family pressures, and expectations of joy from self and others.
Could this year be any different? Or, will an underlying melancholy once again leave many people just getting through rather than celebrating and enjoying the season?
I’ve been to the place of feigning enjoyment while tension and depression cloud every interaction. I’ve felt sick and constantly tired during the holiday season. And I’ve struggled with the disappointing interactions and failed connections with friends and family alike. Even though I now live on the other side of simply surviving the holidays, I remain all too aware of how a lack of diligence will, not can but will, result in a return to a force-fed festivity during my end-of-year celebrations.
The holidays have a way of reminding us of strained and even failed relationships, ones we must face while at the same time battle the temptation to self-medicate with food and drink. And within this struggle lies the sense that a focus on the glitter and glitz of material connections will eventually fade in the coming weeks, leaving us once again lonely and disappointed.
Then comes the hope brought by the new year and the attempt to convince yourself this year will be different, all the while knowing deep down it likely won’t.
I apologize for this seemingly downer tone thus far, but I find this need to admit these yearly struggles in order to maintain – and for many to obtain – victory over them. So, let’s acknowledge them and point-blank stare them in the face and declare, “No! Not again this year!”
An Unexpected Journey
I invite you into a journey I take every year to some extent to continue moving beyond survival and into living true joy that will extend well into the next year, perhaps even butting up with these same confessions – and quite possibly a declaration of victory over them – again this time next year.
This journey will first address the physical struggle many face from Thanksgiving through the fading of New Year’s resolutions. Then we’ll look at ways to address our focus and how to align it with truth, light and hope as we explore the spiritual dimension of the holiday season.
The next step in the journey involves exploring the ways our relationships can actually grow and flourish during the holiday season instead of being increasingly and possibly irreparably strained. Finally, we’ll end with looking at the false hope often brought by New Year’s resolutions and how we can turn that potential failure into true change toward a more joyous and blessed life.
DISCUSSION: In what ways can you relate to the struggle described above? Perhaps you relate through your own experience of that of someone you love. How could this discussion benefit someone (you?) desperately seeking a joy-filled holiday season?