Grinches, Scrooges, And Jesus
Just because so many Grinches and Scrooges are lurking around this time of the year doesn’t mean their cynical Christmas spirit has to dim your yuletide glow.
It helps to remember that people struggle with intense feelings during the holidays for many reasons. Still, their mood doesn’t have to affect your mood or keep you from being kind and loving. You can be empathetic and understanding without dampening your holiday experience by implementing these holiday tips and boundaries.
Turn Your Radar On
You know as well as I do that you will encounter negative, moody, and grumpy “elves” out there. So be on the lookout for people with nasty attitudes; recognize them quickly.
Remind yourself to be compassionate and gracious because you don’t know what they’re going through personally; the holidays can be challenging for someone struggling with loss, terrifying uncertainty, or deep emotional pain.
Smile and be nice no matter what; they need your hopeful spirit.
And while you’re being loving, imagine yourself surrounded by a force shield of grace that their arrows of negativity cannot penetrate, which allows you to be empathetic and encouraging without taking on their pain.
You Do You (And Be Like Jesus, Too)
It’s easier to prevent a problem than fix it. So, having a plan for handling negative people is a big help. It could go something like this: Decide right now that when you come across a rude person in the checkout line, you won’t take it personally because you’re in charge of your attitude and holiday experience, not them!
Decide now not to sink to their level, no matter what.
If they say something mean, respond with something nice. If they steal your parking spot, wave to them as you drive by and exclaim Merry Christmas!
Be kind no matter what and have fun with it! Disrupt their negativity with cheerful responses to make their Christmas happier with your bright attitude.
Or here’s an idea: If they appear deeply troubled and seem open, why not offer to say a quick prayer for them to receive God’s gifts of peace, joy, and hope?
In other words, don’t just say, “Jesus Is The Reason for the Season,” live it! You might be the only “Nativity Scene” that some people see this year.
Stick to Your Plan!
Just know that some people will intentionally test your boundaries, making staying calm pretty hard. But knowing it will happen is half the battle.
Pop quiz: It’s two days before Christmas and you’re out buying last minute gifts and groceries. And just when you finally find a parking spot at the store, a rude driver cuts you off and steals it! What do you do? Stick to your plan. And why are you able to stick to your plan? Because you’ve been practicing it. Maybe you repeated your comebacks in front of the mirror a few times or in the car on the way there.
You’ve practiced until the words flow from your lips effortlessly. You practice until you can’t get it wrong. And why do you go through all this trouble? Is it just to be the bigger person and take the high road? Well, sort of… but not entirely. It’s to have the courage to give people the gift they need most: Grace
If the Sovereign King of the Universe can humble Himself to be born in a stable, then it shouldn’t be that difficult for us to swallow our pride and be gracious to hurting people who need love more than anything. So give them the gift of the benefit of the doubt and a second chance; be loving.
And while you’re at it, consider these boundaries for extending grace to yourself and others this Christmas.
Boundary: No Gossip.
Keep your holiday gatherings and activities positive by refusing to gossip or comment on people’s misfortunes; don’t spread rumors. Say something positive about the person other people are tearing down. And if you can’t learn to be kind, then learn to be quiet.
Boundary: No Guilt.
Give yourself the wonderful gift of a guilt-free holiday! Don’t feel guilty for declining an invitation or choosing not to participate in an activity. Your reasons are your reasons; you don’t need to explain yourself.
Boundary- No reactions.
People will get under your skin and challenge your boundaries; some will do it just to see if they can get a rise out of you. Stay calm. You’re responsible for you. You’re not responsible for their issues, dysfunctions, or how they feel. Remaining rational and calm starves their negative energy.
Just because Christmas is a festive season doesn’t mean you’ll be filled with joy automatically. Sometimes, you must be intentional about finding and maintaining hope and joy, AND sharing it!
By following these tips and sticking to your boundaries, you can spread true love and joy this holiday season, protect your marriage from unnecessary negativity and stress, and keep your holiday spirit intact.