Journey to Faith

Journey to Faith
Follow your own path

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

4 Ways to Keep Your Joy During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and some of us might have a bit of angst about dealing with relatives and loved ones. Holidays mean getting together with family and this can bring out a mixed bag of emotions.  Often there are unresolved issues, personality clashes, and people who just don't get along. There may be loved ones missing from the dinner table due to misunderstandings. If we aren't careful, anxiety over relationships can cause us to lose our joy and our focus. We don't have to allow these issues to get in the way of enjoying the festivities.

Thanksgiving has been very different for me these past few years. Instead of enjoying the fun of shopping for the turkey and all the trimmings, setting a beautiful table with cherished china and silver, and the fun of basting the turkey and enjoying leftovers, I will not even be having Thanksgiving at my house. Family members have moved away or passed on. One has gotten married. In transition times such as these, it is easy to drift into a melancholic woe-is-me state. But that is not my choice and I hope it isn't yours either. If you have experienced similar losses and changes this year, keep the faith. There are ways to keep our joy during the holiday season and here are four of them.

1. Utilize the power of choice.
 Happiness, as I say in my book, The Power of Faith, is a choice. We choose what we focus on at any given moment in time. There will always be positives and negatives in our lives, and it is up to us to decide which we will focus on more.

2. Refuse to dwell on sad things or what is missing in our lives, instead do this.
  Choose to focus on our blessings. I am thankful my sons are independent and self-supporting. I guess they learned that from their mother:) I am thankful I am at peace and content with my life. I am thankful I have a roof over my head and a steady income. I am thankful I live in this country and in freedom. I am thankful I can write this blog to encourage others. I am thankful for good friends who include me at their holiday table.

3. Focus on how to be a blessing to others.
For me, writing this blog is part of that gift I give to you. There are many ways we can give to others this holiday season: donations, food baskets, invitations to holiday festivities, even a cup of hot coffee or hot chocolate to that lonely person sitting on the bench. We never know what heartache someone else may be enduring or how lonely someone may be. When we reach out to others, we take our eyes off our situation and onto someone else's. We give God a chance to work through us.

4.  Remember to thank God.
God is the giver of all good gifts. It is important to maintain an attitude of gratitude. When we appreciate our blessings, we don't take things for granted. We get more joy out of the simple pleasures of life such as a good meal, a warm home, a bouquet of flowers. Gratitude is part of keeping our joy meter high. Give thanks where thanks is due.

This Thanksgiving, my prayer is that the Lord will comfort you, bring you peace, and surround you with His great love and provision. If you are blessed with a happy family and plenty of loved ones, remember to reach out to someone who may not be so fortunate. The holidays are an especially difficult time for singles. If you find yourself alone, reach out and let your friends know so you don't have to spend the holidays by yourself. People are busy so don't expect your friends to be mind-readers. Holidays are meant to be shared by all.

Until next time, if you'd like to receive  my bi-weekly posts  and a copy of my free guide entitled "7 Steps to Finding Your Spiritual Path", please enter your email in the box provided.

Until next time, Happy Thanksgiving and may the Lord bless you abundantly!

Ariel