‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’- How to Beat the Holiday Blues

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas. ~ Calvin Coolidge

You know the song. ‘Have yourself a merry little Christmas, let your heart be light.’ (You’re probably singing along in your head.)  Immortalized by the likes of Judy Garland, Frank Sinatra and James Taylor (to name just a few), it’s a holiday staple, as familiar as ‘Joy to the World’ or ‘Silent Night’.

The song first appeared in the 1944 musical, “Meet Me in St. Louis” during the dark days of WWII. Judy Garland attempted to cheer her younger sister with a bit of hope as they prepared to move away from home and family. A decade later, Frank Sinatra recorded an updated version with the lyrics most recognized today (rewritten at his request by the original lyricist).

It is now the second most popular Christmas song in the world. There’s a lot of hope and good advice in the lyrics. I’d like to share my thoughts with you.

Have yourself … The responsibility rests on you. You can choose to ‘have yourself’ a good attitude or a bad one, anticipation or regret, excitement or dread. Don’t abdicate your control to anyone or anything else. Keep yourself calm and peaceful, full of love and the fruit of the Spirit. Choose joy, choose love; choose peace. It’s up to you.

A merry little Christmas … Find joy in the simple things of the holiday season. Today’s world has gotten entirely too complicated and demanding. Instead, back off a bit. Do a little less, relax a little more. Find joy in the simpler things of the season. Don’t be afraid to say NO when you need to. You don’t have to participate in every event, or do everything others want from you. Keep it simple, little, merry …

Let your heart be light … This is something you do for yourself. LET your heart be light. Give yourself permission to set aside the problems and enjoy the moment.  Be grateful for all the blessings, big and small. Remember the reason for the season. God loves you! That’s why he sent Jesus – to get you. You’re part of His family, His favorite kid! That should put a smile on your face and a song in your heart.

From now on, our troubles will be out of sight … Keep them that way! The more thought you give to anything, the greater it grows. Keep your troubles out of sight, out of mind. Worry doesn’t solve anything. You know that. It’s just a huge time- and energy-waster. Instead, seek peace and pursue it. Heart-peace, the calm reassurance that everything will work out, is a gift and a promise from God. He’ll take care of you.

Have yourself a merry little Christmas … The holiday season does not have to be a big production. Give presence, not presents. Most of us have too much ‘stuff’ already. Don’t go into debt to give gifts to people who don’t need or want them. Instead, meet for lunch. Bake cookies together. Go caroling around the block. Share your talents: help a friend paint a room or re-organize a closet. You get the idea.

Make the Yule-tide gay … Light your candle! Be a bright spot in everyone’s day. Smile. Tell a joke (OK, you may have to memorize a few, or read them if you need to). Have a comedy movie night with family and friends. Organize an ice-cream sundae party for the kids. Do something fun. Plan at least one enjoyable event every week through the season. Anticipation is a great mood lifter.

From now on, our troubles will be miles away … Yep. Here come the troubles again, trying to capture your thinking and steal your joy. So, banish them again! Sometimes it helps to write them down … then toss the paper in the trash (or in a prayer basket, but that’s another article). You know if you had a solution, you’d have already done it. Instead, cast all your care on Him, for He cares for you. God is the only one who can get you out of the mess, so quit trying to do it by yourself. Trust Him.

Here we are as in olden days … What’s your favorite Christmas activity? Baking cookies? Decorating the tree? Singing carols in church? Recreate it. The faces may change (after all, we’ve all lost family members and friends over the years), but the event, fun shared with others, is re-creatable. For me, it’s opening gifts on Christmas eve and hot-from-the-oven blueberry muffins on Christmas morning.

Happy golden days of yore … Make time for the memories. Look through photo albums. Share recollections with family, especially the seniors. Get them to share stories from their past, your heritage. (If you can, record their thoughts or write them down before they are lost forever.) Even the younger ones can enjoy grandpa’s tales of life in the ‘good old days’.

Faithful friends who are dear to us … Have you lost touch with family members or friends over the years? Now is the time to reconnect. Don’t just send everyone a generic Christmas card. Pick up the phone. Write a note. Plan a get-together. “Dear friends.” Just saying it makes you feel good somehow. Be sure to tell them how much they mean to you, how much you love them.

Gather near to us once more … Gather means ‘to collect, to bring together’. Jesus had the disciples ‘gather’ the fragments. He came to ‘gather’ us, to bring us into His family. We should gather together the pieces, the fragments of our own lives, this holiday season. It’s the perfect time to put the pain behind you and give the gift of forgiveness and mercy to those who may have hurt you in the past. Reach out. You can’t ‘gather’ with closed arms or a closed heart.

Through the years we all will be together … Grief, guilt and regret are joy stealers. No one who has gone to heaven wants to come back to this world’s troubles and challenges. We use the term ‘lost’ to explain death, but that loved one isn’t lost at all. He or she is with God, living Life in complete joy and peace. Jesus said, Rejoice! I go to my Father. We all will be together there – and it will be wonderful.

If the fates allow … Fate presupposes that we, as humans, have no control, yet God granted us dominion from the beginning. He tells us to ‘choose’ our thoughts, words and actions because they are the precursors, the prophets of our individual lives. We allow the pain and hurts to overwhelm our emotions, or we choose to set them aside and enjoy our lives. We choose whom we will spend time with, and whom we will avoid. We choose our diet, profession, spouse, and friends. WE are Fate.

Hang a shining star upon the highest bough … Jesus is the Shining Star, the Light of the World. Place Him in a position of honor at the top of your life. Give Him first place, the highest bough. Spend some time with Him every day. Remember, Jesus is ‘The Word’ so time in The Word (the Bible) is time spent with Jesus. Let Him light up your life, and brighten your soul.

And have yourself a merry little Christmas now … Now. Don’t get pulled into the past (regret) or dragged into the future (worry). Stay in the NOW. If you make the moment work for you, if you hang onto your peace for just this moment … and the next … and the next, you can have a merry little Christmas … and January … and February. You get the idea. The only thing you can control is what you are thinking and doing NOW.

  • ·         Keep Jesus as your shining Light, your focus and example.
  • ·         Govern your thoughts. Stay positive.
  • ·         Don’t clutter your life with too many activities.
  • ·         Smile, and speak words of encouragement.
  • ·         Lighten up! Forgive the past; you can’t change it.
  • ·         Avoid worry and stress over the future.
  • ·         Stay in the present, without overspending on the presents!

It is possible to enjoy the holiday season to its fullest. Ditch the blues and sing yourself a merry little Christmas song! From Ed and I – be blessed and be a blessing. And ‘Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas’ … all year long!

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