Advent’s hope lights post-holiday blues
It’s January. The decorations are long put away; the tree has been dismantled; the bills for our holiday spending have arrived; and the scale has confirmed our worst fears. The annual excess of food, socializing, and expressions of good cheer can leave in their wake an empty, purposeless feeling.
It’s not unusual to experience this feeling of let down after the festive, sparkling Christmas season. Now our main focus becomes how to cope with these post-holiday blues.
The key lies in our outlook. The end of the Christmas season signals the beginning of 12 new months of opportunities, purpose, and potential.
Just prior to Christmas, many Christians took part in the season of Advent, a time to renew our love for God’s Word, pray, and reflect. It was a time to reach out in special ways, to give extra time or financial support to those less fortunate and the people working on the frontlines with them. What a heart-warming feeling it was to know that our help made a difference for someone.
There’s no reason we can’t keep these practices alive through the coming year. Wasn’t that the original purpose, to renew our minds and hearts? Wasn’t the aim of Advent to make room for the coming of Jesus? He wants to be with us every day and every moment of the year, not just in Advent.
Advent’s focus was learning and growing, striving to be better, and deepening our love for Jesus by loving each other. The holidays provided many occasions to reinforce these life lessons. We can build on these opportunities as we move forward. The days after the holidays can become an extension of the inspired and profound spirituality we have just experienced.
Perhaps the new year feels anticlimactic after relishing extra time with family or friends. Their absence leaves a hole in our hearts. Or maybe the opposite was true…holidays can be a stressful time for relationships, leaving a person exhausted as the new year approaches.
But what’s to stop us from nurturing special relationships throughout the year, or trying to find a new way to repair a broken one? Why not continue the cards, e-mails, or telephone calls that connected you during the Christmas season? It may be more meaningful than we know.
Rebuild the routine relationships that may have been neglected during the busyness of the holidays. A quiet, personal reconnection with a neglected friend or two can ease us gently back into regular life and rekindle the joy of sustained relationship.
Maintaining a focus on loving and serving Jesus isn’t just for Advent. When practiced all year around, it will help us engage more deeply in the fullness of life and relationships throughout the year.
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