As the holidays approach, there seems to be a new spirit in the air. A spirit of hope that things are getting better and that there is finally a light at the end of the tunnel.
At this time last year, people were seriously debating the wisdom of getting together for Thanksgiving feasts, Christmas parties, or New Year’s celebrations. Was it safe or wise, they wondered? Messages from medical authorities were mixed, and many chose caution over the possibility of risk.
This year, while we’re not out of the woods yet, prospects are certainly looking up. Hope is replacing fear and uncertainty. With the holidays now right up ahead, people are eager to get back together with their loved ones, in an atmosphere of mutual enjoyment and celebration. Multiple generations gathered together under the same roof for Thanksgiving and Christmas will bring delight to all, while the arrival of a brand new year shortly afterward will buoy everyone’s mood as they look forward to happier and healthier times.
Reconnecting with loved ones over the holidays is going to do wonders for people’s outlook, perhaps even more so than they might expect. Renewing and refreshing relationships is what Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are all about, and this year people will truly realize what they’ve been missing and what they have to be most thankful for in their lives.
Reconnecting to Make a Difference
The adjustments people made in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic were significant and disruptive. They may have been necessary, but that didn’t make them any less emotionally painful or psychologically difficult. The restrictions and the precautions had a significant impact on the holiday season in 2020, and while everyone did the best they could it simply wasn’t the same.
I think its fair to say that people began looking forward to this year’s holiday season as soon as the last one ended. They were disappointed in what had been lost and were anxious to get it back.
As people gather, perhaps now more than ever before they will be looking for ways to enhance the normal holiday experience. To cement the ties that bind and deepen the links that connect us in good times and bad. They will be seeking to participate in activities that emphasize their commitment to each other and the larger community.
The options are many. Many of the most uplifting might be provided or sponsored by local churches, which have a special reason to make the Christmas season in particular as memorable and joyous as possible.
When the weather turns colder and the holiday season arrives, churches always make an effort to offer worshippers and community members opportunities to celebrate the life and message of Christ through unselfish acts of the spirit. As society continues to recover from a shared crises that has brought economic and health-related hard times to so many, the time has never been better to support activities that can enrich the lives of those in need. Your participation and that of your loved ones will inevitably bring greater meaning to your holiday observances as well.
Your gift to your church community could be something as simple as music. You could join an already-existing church choir, or get together with others (including your family members) and make a musical group to play and sing in front of the congregation at a special Christmas concert. Your voices and your instrumental skills would be welcomed in most any church, especially during Christmas when there are so many lovely and meaningful songs that can be sung or played. Christmas pageants and concerts sponsored by churches are highly popular, spiritually uplifting events, and any contributions you and your loved ones can make would be greatly appreciated by everyone.
This is just one possibility. You could also offer to help with church and community fundraisers of various types, or volunteer to serve meals to the homeless and others who need love and support to make it through tough times. Volunteering as a family unit for such initiatives is a fantastic way to celebrate, since it honors the true meaning of Christmas and the holiday spirit.
Most churches will have a list of projects they’d like to undertake over the holidays. You could join any that have already been organized, or even offer to take the lead in organizing those that are only suggestions or are still in the planning stages. Jumping in like this as a family group can be an especially rewarding experience, particularly at a time when everyone has been through so much and so many are in need of help.
Creating Better Times for All
Offering your time, money, or skills is a great way to help your church complete its seasonal mission. But regardless of your level of involvement in various church initiatives, one of the best ways to enjoy the holiday season as a family is simply to attend church services together. Such a spiritually energizing activity can help strengthen your bonds with each other, with the greater church community, and with God.
A new year is coming, and by reconnecting with loved ones and enjoying this holiday season to the fullest, you can enter it brimming with optimism and ready to contribute to a new American renaissance.