If you’ve been feeling a little down during this holiday season, it’s all right. Christmas creates all kinds of feelings, including feelings of longing and homesickness and grief. Just allow yourself to feel what you feel, even if what you’re feeling isn’t particularly Christmasy in tone.
If you’ve been feeling vulnerable for the past few days, it’s all right. Christmas opens a feeling door inside most of us, and when we walk through that door we feel all kinds of things, including our vulnerability and mortality and loneliness. Feel what you feel, and keep in mind that the first Christmas was riddled with ambiguity and human complexity.
If you’ve been feeling stressed-out and and under pressure and wondering how you are going to get everything done before next week, it’s all right. For many people, Christmas is a busy season of buying gifts and attending parties, including all kinds of social and family obligations. Give yourself a break. Take a breath. And if you need to pull out of one event, then do it as a profound act of self care.
If you’ve been feeling a jaded or cynical about the whole enterprise of Christmas in America, it all right. Do something wonderfully radical and subversive this Christmas — attend a church service or volunteer at a shelter or do an anonymous act of kindness for someone. You’ll rediscover the true meaning of the season.
And if you’ve been feeling like everything has changed in your life and nothing is the same, it’s all right. Christmas is a life marker, and we look back and remember times when parents or friends were alive, or when we lived in a different place, or when life was seemingly simpler and better. Life does change. Take a Breath this year and give thanks for what used to be, but then embrace something new. Right here. Right now.
My theory is pretty simple this time of year: There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just Christmas.