And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. Luke 2:8-20 (NIV)
I am officially out of my Christmas funk. I caught myself doing the twist to Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. It didn’t have anything to do with the fact that we are already hosting gift giving extravaganzas as a family. Or the cold weather which is making the retailers jump for joy. So, what did I do it? In case you are in your own funk, here are more than a dozen suggestions:
1. I found some people who were in difficult circumstances and did a little something to make their holiday brighter. Not much, but just enough so that they knew someone cared. It helped me, not only to know there were others far worse off than me, but that I could do something to help.
2. I went to a Christmas pageant. The faces of the choir members just beamed with pure pleasure at the opportunity to share their talents with us. You could tell that they really believed what they were singing.
3. I listened to my Amy Grant Christmas CDs over and over. No one (in my opinion) sings Rocking Around the Christmas Tree better than she does and Gabriel’s Oboe transports me directly to heaven.
4. I reread the Christmas Story in Matthew, Luke and Mark.
5. I reread “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens.
6. I signed up for a mission trip to Guatemala and went to a school supply store to outfit their little classroom with supplies and books.
7. I started saying “Merry Christmas” to people even though at first I didn’t really mean it.
8. I bought a Christmas lap quilt from a local quilting guild to keep my toes warm and brighten up my couch. Proceeds from their sale go to make more quilts in bright colors. Those go into police cars to comfort people, many of them children, who are victims of a crime or tragedy.
9. I wrote our Christmas letter and remembered how much we have to be thankful for.
10. I laughed. At silly family pictures, at my children’s antics, at my silly dogs dressed in sweatshirts. It is true that laughter is good medicine.
11. I went to see “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader”, the third Narnia movie, and remembered what the season is all about. I just love Aslan. And the One Who He represents.
12. I sang Christmas Carols along with the radio.
13. I danced.
How about you? How do you get and keep the Christmas Spirit?