A Charlie Brown Kind of Christmas

Christmas is often called ‘the season of giving’, when it should really be called ‘the season of wanting’.

When we aren’t squinting against blinding tv advertisements flashing the newest, coolest ‘must have’ thing we don’t possess, we’re sighing wistfully at holiday films about loves and lives that don’t reflect our own.

To quote Charlie Brown, “I think there must be something wrong with me. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel.”

Is wanting something bad? Not always. Sometimes, wanting something motivates us to finish a task, or spurs a drive in us to accomplish a goal. Other times, wanting goes by a different name… Comparison. There’s a reason it’s called the thief of joy. Which begs the question, as Charlie Brown wisely asked, “Isn’t there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?”

Fun science fact: did you know you can’t feel stress and gratitude at the same time? Your brain literally cannot do it. Research shows that thinking on things we’re thankful for will drown out the loudness of depressive symptoms, every time.

I’m just as shocked as you are—so shocked that I tried it, myself. And, you know what? It worked. What a clever God we have!

As we enter this holiday season, preparing our minds (and our feet) for a month of marathon shopping, I encourage you to practice mindful gratitude, to remember who we should really adore.

To remember what you already have—even if it’s as simple as a roof to keep out the snow, a stocked fridge to keep you full, or a slightly tilted fake tree that somehow manages to stay standing year after year.

Is it a shiny and new six-foot, snow-capped spruce? Nope. But as good ol’ Linus said, “I never thought it was such a bad little tree. It’s not bad at all, really. Maybe it just needs a little love.”

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