Lots of people will carry some extra weight this holiday.
And I’m not talking about calories – unfortunately.
Wish I was.
I’m talking about the burden of the extra stress and tension that many people will assume as their family members from near and far gather together to “celebrate.”
I never really thought about this much until Cindy and I accompanied her parents to a rescue mission benefit concert in Indianapolis three weeks ago.
During the free will offering time, the director of the mission spoke about how the holiday season for many people offers little escape from hurtful relationships, the memories of loved ones who are gone, and the reality that some dreams just aren’t meant to be.
I always look forward to this time of year.
So my heart goes out to those who dread it.
Singer and comedian Mark Lowry, who was also on stage at the time, spoke after the rescue mission director.
He said that tough times, shame, and emotional struggles are more pervasive in December than we could ever guess.
“Think about it,” he said. “Every family has a goofy uncle, a flighty Aunt, a airhead cousin, or negative sibling that routinely tests the patience and goodwill of everyone in the room. I mean it. Every family has one.”
Hmmmm. I had to scratch my head when I heard this. This certainly isn’t true for MY family.
However, Lowry continued, “Make no mistake. Every family has an oddball. And if no family member’s name pops up in your mind… and if you can’t name who it is in your family… you’re probably it!”
Oh well, if the shoe fits… I might as well enjoy its out-of-fashion, broken-in comfort.
But, I’ll admit, the possibility of being the “walking and talking” source of our family’s holiday stress and tension bothered me.
What if I was “it?!?”
And this question lingered on my mind as I visited our district’s early childhood center yesterday.
The youngsters all around me seemed to be so happy, active, and calm.
How do they manage to do it?
Luckily. I saw a sign displayed in their hallway.
I know where my tummy is.
I know the names of many feelings. (And I’ve still got my thesaurus from college!)
And I already have the perfect body shape for mastering the rigors of “belly breaths.”
Yep. Christmas 2013 could be one for the ages.
And that’s my wish for you, too.
No stress. No tension.
Just an awesome holiday season for you and everyone you care about.
I’ll send out an Encourager on Dec. 23 and then again on Dec. 30.
If you receive an Encourager anytime between these dates, you’ll know that the three-step process on the sign flopped… and that someone in my family asked me to leave our holiday festivities and go write something to my “invisible friends.”