Having a better Christmas takes a different approach to the holidays

Having a better Christmas season is the wish of every single, but when we repeat the patterns of the past, it's likely nothing will change.

You're probably familiar with the quotation attributed to physicist Albert Einstein: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results."

Sadly, millions of intelligent single people do exactly that during the holiday season. They fall into the same thoughts and emotions as they did in the past, then wonder why they're disappointed and lonely again this year.

This season, it's time for you to break that cycle. After all, it hasn't worked before. Why repeat the same thing? Let's try something different. What have you got to lose, other than your holiday depression?

Hey!  Who's in charge, anyway?

Having a better Christmas demands that you accept this truth:

You, and only you, are in charge of what you think.

It's time to man up--or woman up--as the case may be. No one can force you to think a certain way. Oh, our culture does bombard singles with messages that we are "less than" at Christmas, but it can't make you believe that lie.

Even if a thousand people yell something at you that's a lie, the volume and the crowd size can never make it the truth. A lie is a lie.

Having a better Christmas means rejecting the lies we're all told. Here are some examples of untrue messages:

  • You MUST feel bad if you don't have a spouse or special someone during the holidays.
  • You absolutely MUST buy everyone the perfect gift for their individual personality.
  • You MUST run yourself ragged and get stressed out because YOU are responsible for other people's happiness.
  • You MUST be happy this time of year because you're wrong not to be.

Notice the recurring theme?  "You MUST!" appears in every one of these lies. You MUST? Says who?

Let's face it. The Christmas season becomes more commercialized and stressful every year, and worst of all is the untruth that you can only show your love to family and friends by buying them the most thoughtful, impressive present they've ever gotten.

Urk!  Excuse me while I gag.

This year, for a change, try something different, like not believing all the MUSTS. Take control of your life again. Put yourself in charge. And please, please stop worrying about what other people think of you.

I'm not suggesting you turn mean or rude, but I am asking you to protect yourself. Your worth as a person does not depend on your being the perfect little Christmas elf.

"I'm going to be kindest to myself."

Repeat this after me: "I'm going to be kindest to myself this year." Yes, it sounds selfish, but where has feeling guilty gotten you in the past?

We're breaking bad habits here, and feeling guilty is one of the worst.

Just as you should take care of your physical health, you should take care of your emotional health too. That means not overscheduling. If you bruise a few feelings, remember that too much of a good thing, like parties, can turn into a bad thing, like exhaustion and illness.

Pace yourself. Take care of yourself. Realize you can't be everything to everybody. You're only human and a single human at that. Being single and sick is no fun.

You have responsibilities, like your job, after the holidays end. Don't overdo eating, drinking, or staying out too late. One sign of maturity is knowing when to stop. Your body will thank you for it later.

Treating yourself with kindness also means reminding yourself you are deeply and passionately loved by God. That truth never changes, no matter what the season. When you feel lonely--and you will--remember your Father gave you the most incredible Christmas gift ever, his only Son, to die for you and bring you to heaven with him forever.

That, my single friend, is mighty locomotive love, just for you.

"I'm going to let it roll."

Having a better Christmas takes letting things roll off your back. Envious of married couples or friends with a sweetheart? Let it roll. Things are not as peachy-keen with them as it appears; every relationship has its problems.

Relatives who get under your skin? Let it roll. They may say hurtful things. They may argue with you. They may pick and criticize. We singles can honor God with our lives, but we can't always satisfy our relatives. If you're on the right path, let their comments roll. And keep reminding yourself God has that mighty locomotive love for you.

Feel let down because Christmas doesn't live up to its hype? Let it roll. Our world is soiled by sin. It can never live up to our expectations. And Christmas, that season of Be-Happy-Or-Else, leaves all of us disenchanted when it's over. The parties weren't as hilarious as we expected, the gifts don't take long to lose their sparkle. It all seems anti-climactic.

Know why? Only Jesus can satisfy that deep longing all of us have way down in our soul. This caricature we've made of Christmas was supposed to celebrate Christ's birth, but it's Easter that really matters. That's when the promise of Christmas was fulfilled.

Break the old patterns this year. Think differently. Do differently. Don't let advertising tell you how to love.

Having a better Christmas takes focusing first and foremost on God's mighty locomotive love for you. Once you grasp that, everything else falls into its right place. 

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