Staying Positive During the Holidays

The Fundamental Home

I love the holidays.

Who doesn’t?

The family, the friends, the food, the parties, the presents, the decorations.  It’s a whirlwind of fun!

Of course, there are also some stressful aspects to the holidays like the family, the friends, the food, the parties, the presents, and the decorations 😉   A girl can get overwhelmed just thinking about everything that needs to be done.

Then, there are those who are especially struggling this particular holiday season.  A good friend of mine is on chemo and facing surgery.  Some friends are dealing with recent losses in their family.  Some will not be able to see their family this Christmas due to deployments or other non-negotiable commitments.  A few are empty nesting it for the first time this year.

Not to mention, our lives don’t take a break during the holidays.  There is still sickness, cars break down, finances get squeezed, or you say something embarrassing in front of people you care about.  Really.  All of that has happened to me in the last week.

It can be hard.

Rick and I are always a little blue this time of year because we live states away from all of our extended family.  My husband hasn’t seen his parents or sister in 5 years.  He hasn’t seen his brother in 15 years.  Rick works retail (another cause for holiday stress), so he can’t just take a vacation and visit.  We miss them all year, but it’s especially difficult right now.

You can see why I need to work on staying positive.

This brings me to yesterday.  Sunday morning.  I was scheduled to work the nursery in church, and the Pastor mentioned that he was preaching on getting an attitude adjustment.  I thought to myself, “Boy, I need that right now, but I will be in the nursery.”  Guess what happened?  There were no children in the nursery.  That never happens.  Ever.  I joked with the Pastor that the Lord knew I needed that message.

There is truth in jest.

Needless to say, it was just what I needed.  The Lord always knows, right?!  My attitude has been changed!

So, I wish I could share with you every nugget of wisdom I got from the one message, but that would take forever!  Instead, I will give you the one verse that has been instrumental in helping me stay positive.  I think it will help you to stay positive during this holiday season.  Here it is…

Philippians 4: 8

Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

If you want to stay positive during the holidays, you need to keep your mind on good things.

I just mentioned to you all the difficulties that have been clogging up my brain space.  Those difficulties are not all going to go away, but I don’t need to think about them over and over again.  I need to keep my mind on the good.

Things that are true

These things are the facts.  I don’t know about you, but facts bring me comfort.  I like things that are black and white.  The ambiguous makes me nervous.  Here’s a truth for you:

Deuteronomy 31:8

And the LORD, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

If that thought doesn’t help you stay positive, I don’t know what will.  Do you know the best place to find things that are true?  God’s Word.  There is always something positive you can find there to think on.  May I recommend the book of Philippians?  The theme of that book is joy, yet Paul wrote it from prison.  I know that if it helped him to be  joyful in those circumstances, it can help you have joy in yours.

Things that are honest

These are things that are honorable, majestic, revered.  They are things that cause you to be in awe.  For me, when I want to dwell on majestic things, I look no further than outside my own front door.  From my porch, I can see mountains and trees.  God’s creation is spread before me, and there is nothing that brings me more joy.  After a stressful week, I put aside everything on Saturday to do some needful yard work.  Sure, it was work, but after being stuck in the house all week, it was a refreshment.  Nature is a wonderful balm for the soul because it reflects God’s majesty.

Psalm 19:1

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.

Consider all the glorious things the Lord has made.  Step back and be in awe.  That will help you stay positive.

Things that are just

These things are righteous, and this particular adjective is often used to describe a man who is righteous.  I don’t know about you but it often helps me to think about those who are out there serving the Lord.  I think to myself, if God can use them, maybe he can use me, too.  There are just ones out there that can encourage you to serve the Lord.  Who isn’t encouraged when they read this:

Philippians 3:12-14

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus. Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. 

Paul knew he wasn’t perfect, but he was following Christ.  He was pressing on toward the prize.  When I read that, (I know it may be less than righteous, but) I hear the Rocky theme music in my head.  I want to work and fight and win!  Thinking on those who are out there moving forward for the faith makes me feel super positive that I can do it, too.

Things that are pure

These things are uncontaminated.  They are in a condition prepared for worship.  I will be the first to admit that there is very little out there that is wholly chaste.  Innocence is lacking in our culture.  So, in this case, I will not say so much about what to think on.  Rather, I will tell you what to avoid.  Do not put your mind on wicked things.  If your goal is purity, you should put aside all that defiles your mind.  You will know you thoughts have been defiled when it starts coming out of your mouth.

Matthew 15:18-20a

But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.  For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:  These are the things which defile a man…

We all know where these things can be found- on TV, on the internet, on the news.  Now, I am not saying that you should bury your head in the sand, but you don’t have to know every scandalous detail of every news story, either.  If you are having trouble staying positive this holiday season, turn all that negativity off.  Start hiding things on Facebook that don’t uplift or encourage.  Or, you could stay off social media altogether if it is possible for you.  Turn off the news and the TV.  Instead, watch Christian comedy or an uplifting Christian film.  Keep the unpure from your mind and you will have a much more positive outlook.

Things that are lovely

These things are pleasing, prized, worthy of personal affection.  These are the things that you are grateful for in your life.  Ladies, I don’t think I am going too far when I say that my husband and children are the most lovely things in my world.  They are my prizes.

Psalm 127:3

Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

When I think about my children, I can’t help but feel grateful.  I will be the first to tell you that I do not deserve the gifts that I have in my children.  They are the most wonderful people in my life.  I am so glad for everyday I get to spend with them.  I can’t fill the tree with their hearts desire, but I can fill their hearts with the rights desires.  I can’t fulfill every wish on their list, but I can list all of the wishes I want for their lives.  When I think of them.  I smile.  Even when we are having a hard day, I am filled with endless love for them.  These are my babies, and even on their worst day, there is nothing unlovely about them in my heart.

As to my husband, I could never express what a wonderful blessing he is to me.

(Side note- Rick walked by as I was writing this, and I showed him that last line.  He told me to erase it because it wasn’t good enough 🙂  That man makes me laugh!)

When my children are gone, Rick will still be here.  He is more than I could have ever asked for in a husband, and he is lovely to me.

Things that are of good report

These things are good news!  Who doesn’t love to hear good news?!  Even Facebook can be a blessing when people are sharing good news.

Matthew 12:35a

A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things…

If you want to bring forth good things, you need to fill your heart with good treasures.  One good thing about the holidays is that there is a lot of good news floating around.  There are people giving and serving.  There are people sacrificing.  There is love and kindness for fellow man in the very air.  This is the time for the ultimate good news!  Jesus has come!  Seek good news and share the good news!  You will feel more positive knowing that you did.

Things that have any virtue

These are things that have any ethical value.  Let’s be honest.  You will encounter things that will challenge your ability to stay positive.  This is the time when you are looking for any virtue.  Black Friday shopping madness- at least some people will be able to have a holiday they could not otherwise afford.  Traffic- everyone is going to see their families this year.  High prices- you can better focus your gifts on what will be truly appreciated.  No gifts- this year you can focus on the true meaning of Christmas.  Whatever situation you are in, you can find something virtuous to appreciate.  This is much more easily done if we do not focus on ourselves.

Philippians 2:4

Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.  

So you were given boots that don’t fit for Christmas, and you can’t return them.  Look around.  Maybe there is someone who needs winter boots who wears just that size.  So you don’t have enough money to give gifts for everyone on your list.  Donate what you have in the names of those you love.  Consider what you can do to spread the love to as many people as possible, and this will be the most positive holiday ever!

Anything worthy of praise

These things are self-explanatory.  You should just think on the things that are praise-worthy.  You need to count your blessings!  It’s timeless advice.

Psalm 145:3

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.

The Lord has been SO good to you this year.  If you aren’t feeling positive, you need to consider all that He has done in your life.  I know that when I consider all He has done for me, I can’t help but get my attitude straight.

If your holidays are busy, your family is far away, and you are struggling for any number of reasons, you can still be positive this holiday season.  Keep your mind on all the things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely, of good report, have any virtue, and are worthy of praise.

And don’t forget to share those good things with others (You can do it in the comments below).

Let’s encourage one another to stay positive.

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2 thoughts on “Staying Positive During the Holidays

  • December 4, 2015 at 12:54 pm
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    I think a lot ofpeople are feeling blue at the holidays. This is an great, encouraging post for those people having those kind of days.

    Reply
    • December 4, 2015 at 8:20 pm
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      Thanks for the encouragement! I know I am feeling a bit overwhelmed these days. In fact, I may have to re-read the post to get through this weekend. SO many Christmas parties!! 🙂 I hope you will visit The Fundamental Home again!

      Reply

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