Hey, you. Yes, you. Breathe.
You can put so much pressure on yourself (and everyone around you) at Christmas. You want everyone to be happy, and happy with you. You want to grab hold of that elusive feeling of joy you believe is possible, and you want it for more than the few minutes it takes to open the gifts or eat the meals you worked so hard to prepare. But you can’t control how other people think, feel, or behave, any more than you can control time.
What you can do is put all your expectations into God’s hands. Contained in them are your hopes, dreams, and relationships, as well as your anxieties, frustrations, and your loneliness. All of that gets wrapped in your memories, both good and bad. Give all of it to God, and let him set you free from past hurts, present stress, and future worries.
Take a deep breath. Take another. In God’s presence, let his love for you open the door to an ever-increasing hope, displacing every negative expectation in your heart and mind. In his love, you can see yourself as he does—a truly joyful and peaceful son or daughter. In his love, you can powerfully bless others without needing anything in return. In his love, you can live each moment so fully, it feels like he’s slowing time for you.
No matter what this year has been like, or the circumstances you’re still facing, I pray you have the most wonderful Christmas of your life, and you begin the new year with a whole heart, renewed hope, and love, joy, and peace beyond measure.