Merry Christmas everyone! We all know this won’t be Christmas as usual. The good news is that despite a pandemic, Christmas is not cancelled! However, it’s going to take psychological flexibility to handle this holiday with grace! We need to continue to be mindful of staying safe for a little longer.

One positive of all the changes is that we have more time this year to engage in wellness because we aren’t as busy as years past. So, during this holiday time, take an hour to decompress, make sure you exercise, spend quiet time with the Lord and practice gratitude. Keeping your body, mind and spirit calm and centered will go a long way to keeping the stress down.

In terms of celebrations, get everyone in your family to agree on precautions and boundaries. Not everyone is going to agree on what is safe and what is not. Simple decisions around issues like hugging, wearing masks, spending time with friends could become stressful for families. Thus, each family needs to establish what their guidelines and boundaries will be. I would encourage you to be proactive in terms of what you will and will not do. Make decisions based on risk factors and level of comfort.

Also let’s pray for the people who will have empty chairs at their tables because they have lost loved ones this year. My colleague is a physician and she talks about how many of her patients have lost their spouses to COVID. This is happening all over the country.

As you get ready to celebrate this joyful time, remember the greatest gift ever and rejoice! This gift has not been impacted by the pandemic. It is not unique to this year and lasts for all the years to come. And this gift continues to give and give –right into eternity. It is the gift of eternal life spent with God. That gift is still available, free and will change your life forever.

Finally, when you look at the lights on your tree, remember light shines brightest in darkness. That’s the heart of the Christmas story, an overriding message of hope that is articulated beautifully in the lyrics of “O Holy Night.”

“O holy night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.”

God entered our lives in the darkness of the night. He is the light of the world. Christmas reminds us that even when things seem dark, we can trust the everlasting light.

A Christmas to remember

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