5 Tips for a Merry Little Christmas

img_9519“Have yourself a merry little Christmas…let your heart be light …”

It’s one of my favorite holiday tunes; words so full of promise they seem to taunt the wanting that accompanies the season. Certainly its cache of goodwill can help
us maximize the merry this Christmas? Here’s what I gleaned from its recommendations:

1. Make time for faithful friends

Faithful friends make good times better. According to a WebMD article by Tom Valeo, “Lots of research has shown social support and good health are connected.” Proverbs seconds this notion, “A merry heart does good like medicine” (Proverbs 17:22). So to add to your merry this Christmas, arrange a time to appreciate these special people in your life. Meet for coffee, exchange small gifts, invite them over for dinner. Your heart will be lighter for it.

2. Put your troubles away

Christmas can make people forget about life’s imperfections and focus instead on its greatest joys. As Charles Dickens observed, it “can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days.” No delusions in your childhood? Then take the leap of faith and simply “let go and let God.” Steve Mays speaks to this in his book Overwhelmed By God and Not Your Troubles. “When we focus on God and choose to be overwhelmed by Him, our circumstances will diminish in their capacity to rule our emotions and our life.” Allow the love of God to overrule your troubles and increase your merry this Christmas.

3. Go ahead, hang a star…

Cheesy? Nah. Ok maybe; but who isn’t enamored with the blood, sweat and tears poured into a light and sound show on someone else’s lawn? It’s one of my family’s favorite holiday traditions. Something about the twinkle “all aglow” brings a merry to our night. Yes, it’s a little kitschy, but give yourself permission to enjoy time together as a family gawking awestruck at some of the most outrageous and entertaining sights of the season.

4. Savor the Yuletide

Yuletide was originally centered on the winter solstice. But later it underwent Christianised reformulation resulting in the now better-known Christmas. What a blessing that as hearts turned to Christ, the celebration was shifted to honor the birth of our Lord and King, Jesus Christ. Savor this Yuletide as the type of experience that makes you wish Christmas was celebrated all year long.

5. Don’t settle for “little”

Ever wonder why the carol restricts Christmas to “little?” The hard truth about the Christmas holiday: it’s fleeting. But I could get used to all the good tidings and great joy! Why must we restrict our light hearts to a few short weeks of the year?

Let’s face reality; a routine flip of the calendar relegates all that Yuletide to a memory. The early light of December 26 reveals the vestiges of yesterday’s holiday revelry. Now only scraps of torn wrapping paper and the prick of dried pine needles linger to remind us of the “merry.” And the realization of just how “little” the holiday is begins to sink in…

What if I told you there’s a way you could hold on to the feelings of merry you experience (or long to experience) at Christmastime throughout the rest of year? Would you want to know how?

The answer is in the holiday’s namesake: Christ. More Christ = more merry. Not just for a season, but for a lifetime…and for an eternity.

Because God chose to meet us where we are as humans and be born of the Virgin Mary; because the Creator of the universe chose to humble Himself and serve rather than be served; because the very purpose of His birth was to turn around and die for us–we have the opportunity not only for a merry Christmas, but also a very merry every other day of the year.

So why settle for little when you can have big?

With Christ, there is no “December 26;” there is no day after let down. With Christ, our hope doesn’t fade the moment peppermint is removed from menus or the wreaths and ribbens are packed away.

With Christ as our Savior, everyday is Christ-mas. The merry pervades; our hope lives. Why? Because through Christ we have access to eternal life in heaven. And every day we keep our hearts and eyes peeled on that guarantee.

So I pray you do have a merry little Christmas season. But even more, I pray you have a big life filled with transcendent joy for what Christ’s birth came to accomplish–eternal life for you and me. Merry Christmas.

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