Putting Away The Blues

(Matthew 2:11: They went into the house and when they saw the child with his mother, Mary, they knelt down and worshiped him. They brought out their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, and presented them to him.)

Last year a friend taught me a wonderful Christmas lesson over three cups of coffee. I’ll condense it here: “I’m really trying to let Christmas “soak in” this year. Every year’s such a letdown. Just as I’m seeing the Christmas trees put out to the curb, I feel like the “Christmas Spirit” is gone. Everything is back to grind, back to the gray and coping with winter slush and taxes. But I’m not giving in this year. I’ve got to bring the Christmas Spirit into the New Year.

“I’m fighting off the winter blues by focusing on two things; giving and gratitude. Joe does most of the cooking, you know, I’m just not the cook. But on Wednesdays he’s always late so I have to get something together, and you know, it’s the minimum. And usually I’ve got an attitude. So last Wednesday I decided to make an effort and give everyone their favorite dinner. They appreciated it, but more importantly, I just felt great about myself and it brought us closer together, too. If the Three Kings can cross the desert to bring a gift, I want to do that for my family.”

The “winter blues” can sap us. The energy of our faith can, and should, inspire us to bring a new spirit into the new year. My friend was inspired by the effort of the Magi and I was inspired by her. Seeking the Holy in everyday life takes effort, but the time is well invested. God is with us.

While the energy of the holiday fades, it is up to us to bring the spirit of “God-With-Us” into our new year. The Gospel imperative is the dual impulse to embrace the divine in our hearts and engage the sacred in our neighbor. The Magi did that and so can we.

The energetic activity of the Christmas season can fade away or we can let it train our attitude, transforming gray moments with bright generosity. Imagine ordinary tasks transformed by treating them as gifts not only to delight others, but to honor the Holy? There is no room for poisonous resentment in acts of generous giving. Following Jesus entails a shift to devoting ourselves to serving others.

In our moments of prayer, we can resolve to ask for God’s help to apply the lessons of Christmas. Our prayers can be light in the darkness of our struggles and discontent. Imagine contemplating our cares and worries with the firm purpose to seek God and to trust we will find God in the life we live daily? Seeking the Holy as we live and pray brings the light of Christmas and the promise of Jesus into the new year.


Rev. Forrest Parkinson, LMSW, LP, LCC Pastoral Psychotherapist. Pastor Parkinson counsels adults and couples at LCC’s Advent, NYC, and Mineola sites.
  


Call the Lutheran Counseling Center at 516-741-0994 or 1-800-317-1173 or e-mail us at Center@lccny.org for more information or to set an appointment. LCC has nine counseling sites in and around metropolitan New York.

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