Thursday, December 7, 2023

Inviting Calm into Your Christmas


By: Donna Bucher

Every Christmas I look forward to a festive time preparing for Christmas. But then reality sets in. More specifically, overwhelm sets in, and I lose my Christmas joy before I am through the first week in December.

Falling victim to expectations, negative memories from the past, and anxiety for the coming weeks, the beauty of a calm and bright Christmas fades quickly.

The holidays sometimes present difficult emotions due to losses in the past year, illness, or negative memories from the past. Working in hospice and grief ministries exposes me to many people for whom the holidays hold no joy.

Taking time each day, purposefully slowing down, reflecting, and spending quiet moments with God changes everything for me. Breathing new life and meaning into preparations, gatherings, and even gift giving, I find a keen sense of calm.

Setting our focus on Emmanuel, we realize God is with us providing comfort in difficult moments. Speaking peace into the chaos of our thoughts and strengthening us by His love He enables us to love others well.


When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.”

Psalm 94:19


Pursuing a Calm Christmas

A mindful approach to the holiday season helps reduce anxiety, increase compassion, empathy, and patience both with yourself and others. Additionally, it keeps you present, enjoying the moments before you, allowing increased sensitivity to God’s presence in your everyday moments.

Consider these tips for a calmer Christmas this year:


Release Old Christmas Memories and Traditions Rooted in Negativity

Every family has its “traditions” and memories, but some of them perpetuate negativity. Maintaining old patterns, fearing change or the retribution of change, keeps you rooted in the past.

Notice these feelings when they creep in with curiosity, not condemnation. Stay in the current moment and ask yourself if a change may prove beneficial. Choosing to leave the past in the past with its feelings and negativity opens the opportunity for new experiences in the present.


Accept All of Your Emotions

The holidays have a way of uncovering emotions better controlled at other times. While the festive atmosphere evokes excitement and celebratory emotions, you may also experience sadness, grief, or loneliness.

Make space and accept the emotions you feel.

Refusing uncomfortable emotions trains your brain to fear them. Welcoming uncomfortable emotions, acknowledging them, and accepting them, allows them to flow through you, not become trapped inside.


Accept the Emotions of Others

Remember, if you struggle emotionally during the holiday season, know others may as well. Increase your awareness of how others may show their own emotions.

Cultivate compassion and empathy, creating opportunities for connection. A kind word spoken to a heavy heart brings tremendous comfort. You may be the only person brave enough to speak into their pain.

Not so surprisingly, when we offer kindness and space for others struggling emotionally, we bring healing to our own hearts.


Practice Active Listening

Active listening communicates you value the other person and hear them. Most people desire not solutions for their problems, but validation for their suffering.

Better observation skills, a pleasant benefit of active listening, helps in sincere engagement and the ability to comfort others.


I pray the above tips for a calm and bright Christmas offer help as you navigate this Christmas season. Ultimately, our hope and peace do not rest in even the most beloved Christmas traditions, but in the Prince of Peace, Emmanuel.

Determine to remain present this Christmas season, embracing all God has for you. Seek ways to make even more room in your heart for Jesus, truly celebrating the Greatest Gift ever given. Allow Emmanuel to speak His presence into your hard places, sorrow and anxiety, transforming the shadows with His Light.


In which of the areas above do you struggle most at Christmas?

What one thing can you do today to invite calm into your Christmas?

Find more encouragement and FREE Resources at Serenity in Suffering!


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