My list of 3 simple ways to experience more Christmas Joy

3ways-to-have-more-christmas-joyIsn’t it sad that Christmas time, intended to celebrate the birth of the Savior of the world, the giver of all peace, has turned into a time of heighten stress, anxiety and chaos??

It is crazy that in the hustle, bustle and anxiety of getting Christmas ‘right’ we can unwittingly loose our personal peace…even our connection with the Being whom we are celebrating.

With this dilemma, I have resolved that if I intend to make Him my celebration, then I must make Him my goal. I must keep my own inner peace to provide the stillness needed for me to listen and feel the Spirit communicating with me, and thereby inviting Christ into my heart.

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I have come to know this as a humble and quiet experience. Not outwardly evident as the sparkle of ornaments or the glamour of fancy Christmas party pictures on my facebook page, but as a totally satisfying and edifying feeling beyond anything this world can offer. That is Christ and Christmas coming alive within me.

 

So how is the done? How can I deliberately focus and feel Christ more during this time and experience Christmas at its fullest?

I believe one of the most beautiful truths about Christ is that He is the optimal source of Joy. Joy truly is the purpose of our existence as human beings! Is that not the greatest news ever??  That means Christ is the key to fulfilling the purpose of our existence.  In fact, when things go beyond the scope of true joy, I have learned that I am likely missing the mark and it is time to realign, reconsider and reconcoliate to Him again.

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With that said, here is my simple Christmas list of how I can more fully live in the “Joy Zone” and make Christmas truly magic!

Give willingly- Yes, Christmas is about giving but sometimes that message can be so pounded into my brains that I can begin to distort it and I feel must give or do something to every person I come in contact with!! But in that distress to find and do something for so many, I miss the good feelings behind gift giving because I have certainly stressed and burned myself out doing it! I have essentially  transformed something that could give great joy into something I do unwillingly, with resentment and distress.

Whatever I choose to give, I must make sure I give myself enough space, permission and time that I can give with real intent, willingly and lovingly. This way my joy can be maximized and not dragged down with resentment from the heightened expectations of myself and perceived expectations of others. This also frees me from the anxiety of the receipt not liking or appreciating my gift. If done in love, my gift was enough, regardless of the reaction of others.

In the end, seriously, the greatest gift anyone can ever give is a calm, happy, self. Someone who is willing to listen and to help. This true gift of peace to someone else can be totally sabotaged in the hurry and worry of the season.
So, as counterintuitive as it may sometimes seem, I gotta remember to slow down and stay centered to give my best self to others.

Receive graciously- in our focus of giving, giving, giving, it is so easy to forget how to RECEIVE. In fact, sometimes, receiving can be a source of stress and even a burden! When someone gives me a gift, sometimes I end up feeling guilty or ashamed that I didn’t even think of them, guilty that their gift was way more than I deserved, or even burdened that now I should get them a gift too. But gift giving was never intended to be that! A true gift is given without attachment, done for the sheer joy of doing it. Whether or not this is true from the giver’s end, as a receipt I can alway choose to receive it that way. I can let myself by touched and filled by someone’s gift to me. I can allow for gratitude to fill my heart instead of guilt, shame, disappointment or obligation. I can express gratitude sincerely. It is in these simple attitudes that will naturally help me WANT to pay it forward and spread more joy for myself and others.

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Do as much and as little as it takes to experience peace and joy AND LET IT BE ENOUGH.- Happiness has always been a balance. During Christmas,  it is no different. Boycotting Christmas and gifts and exiling myself to a snowy cliff to avoid it all was no more joyous than going crazy like all the other “Whos” who have been sucked into Christmas commercialism.

(Source)

I’m beginning to see that the balancing act of how much is enough can be found in my inner “joy barometer”  Whenever an activity takes me away from my inner peace and turns into turbulence of heightened stress, I have learned to reassess and change my pace, activity or attitude towards it to regain calm again. I’m not always great at it but that as a general aim keeps me sane and happy. Being sane and happy helps to me accept that what I am doing is totally enough. (see feeling enough post)

My hope is that these three points, when lived inside and out, will better help me {and others} keep connected to Christ, the true meaning of the season. And by doing that, experience delicious JOY.

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Now go ENJOY your Christmas, my friend!!!

For a simple15 min christmas popcorn to share with free printables!

Other post that might be helpful:
My obsession with getting things done and how it blocked real happiness
Why Christ matters: a mother’s saving grace
Object lesson that helps explain why Christ is so important.

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