This past year has been rough to say the least. Now that the holiday season is upon us, we need hope more than ever. We need love and we need to show love to others. This is a time to be proactive in healing our nation, our communities and our homes.
What can we do to hold off the negative things in the media that cause anxiety and depression to increase? We can choose to look for the positives in our nation, state and communities. We can choose to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.
“Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep His promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”Hebrews 10:23-24 (New Living Translation)
While doing so, we can involve our children so they will learn how to handle this situation and gain strength from the example of their parents. When we involve our children in doing good for others it helps pass on positive choices to them. Here are seven steps to get you going:
Pray that God will open your heart (and your child’s) to helping others during this season, and that you will find a ministry or cause that’s close to your heart so you can stay motivated.
Ponder your choices and how you can involve your children in being part of the solution to help those in our community or among family members who need help.
Consider how you can honor the plans and accept the comfort levels of older family members. Older family members may feel more anxiety about leaving the house during this holiday season. We may need to adjust our plans to honor their wishes. Let us give way to the older members of our family as Paul wrote to Timothy in I Timothy 5.
Use positive media ideas about how to celebrate safely. With all the technology we have to talk to the ones we love on the phone or via the computer and tablet while seeing their faces, be creative. This is the time for puppet shows done by children. This is the time for sign making. This is the time to show off skills that you’ve learned from friends and relatives that have poured time and patience into you and/or your children. So, play that Christmas song on the piano. Show off that painting which is an example of the techniques you’ve learned.
Look for easy ways to help out. Organizations in our communities have already started toy drives. The Salvation Army will need help with food to feed the homeless. Get on that list to call church members who have important medical appointments to encourage them (Cancer didn’t go away just because coronavirus showed up). Buy some gift cards to restaurants to help those who have lost a loved one to not have to worry about dinner. Arrange to drop by and give that coffee shop gift card to lift someone’s spirits.
Once you’ve chosen a way to help out, involve your kids. Buying toys for kids can be fun, but having your child buy toys for children in need turns fun into a cherished memory that teaches both of you a lesson of love and gratitude. You may be surprised at what your children tell you, especially if he or she is able to consider what they would like to receive. Some kids will not let you get generic stuff, for example. If you’re going to get a building toy, only real Legos will do.
Be thankful that God has allowed you the opportunity during this season to be a blessing to others. When we seek to be a blessing instead of receive blessings, it can change our entire perspective. When we focus on what we can do, it takes our minds off of the negative.
Another way to reduce feelings of depression and anxiety during this holiday season is to access positive resources. Positive resources like RightNow Media can allow you access to content on what Christmas and the holiday season is all about.
Popular authors such as Matt Chandler, Sadie Robertson Huff, Jo Saxton, and J.D. Greear can lift your spirits and help you focus on how to use your talents to serve the Lord in any season. These resources can further help us to motivate the younger people in our lives to be involved in acting out their faith.
“My children, our love should not be just words and talk, it must be true love that shows itself in action.” We can choose to put our faith into action.I John 3:18 (GNT-Good News Translation)
We can also remember that it’s important for our souls, minds, emotions and bodies to forgive. Without forgiveness we can’t move forward. Forgiveness allows space for new conversations about how to use our strengths, resources and abilities to move forward for the benefit of each person. It is also good to remember, if you wish to receive forgiveness, you must offer it to others (Matthew 6:15).
IF we can be Christians who choose to put our faith into actual action, we can begin to make 2022 the year that we beat back the darkness and show others the light of God’s love. IF we choose to use what we’ve learned from this year, we can move forward toward a nation, state, and community that is more connected for positive change. IF we put our faith into action, we can demonstrate to the younger generation that we have chosen to make a difference.
This year has given us time to contemplate what’s most important to us. It has given us time to reconnect with family members. It has made us reconsider how we choose to treat our neighbors. It has given us time to reconsider our relationships with the Lord. IF we choose to begin now with this holiday season, we can bring our positive momentum into 2022. IF we choose to focus on being a blessing to others, we can reduce the negative and increase the positive. I pray that we can and that we will ask each day, “What would Jesus do?”
Contributed by Patrick Tidwell, Ph D, LMFT and Adjunct Professor Liberty University Online.