Jan 17, 2022 08:00am
Fighting Post-New Year Dreariness

Anticipation for “the holidays” begins each year in the waning days of summer, often before the first leaves begin to change color. We begin making plans for special events starting with Halloween and Fall Festivals, which then lead to preparing special food for family and friends at Thanksgiving. 

Next comes “the most wonderful time of year” — Christmas, with its gift-buying, baking, get-togethers with family and friends, carols and so much more. Before we know it, it’s time for ringing in the New Year with parties, more food, fireworks and resolutions.

Now it’s well into 2022, and I am desperately trying to undo the damage all that extra food did to my already stretched physique and feeling guilty about those well-intentioned-but-already-broken resolutions. As I look outside at the cloudy skies and dreary mist of rain, a phrase from that old 1969 Peggy Lee song seems to keep rolling through my mind — “Is that all there is?”

Fortunately, the answer to that question is a resounding “No!”

Those of us who have accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior know that life isn’t just about “big” days and special events in our lives — it’s about making every day special and memorable in some small way. If we get too wrapped up in ourselves and our problems, life can be disappointing and perhaps even depressing. But if we look for ways to make the lives of those around us special, it will do wonders to bring joy into our own lives. 

Perhaps we could . . . 

• Send note or emails to people just to let them know how much they mean to us and that we’re thinking about them. Perhaps, like me, they will put that note in a special drawer labeled “keep it forever” and go back and read it when the days seem dreary.

• Do something special for family members. Maybe you could pick up a favorite ice cream when you go shopping, then put his or her name on it in your freezer so they will know it’s just for them. The possibilities are endless — just think about what would be appreciated the most and do it!

• Take on more than you have to at work. Something I heard a long time ago has always stuck with me: “Do your job, and then some . . . ” Don’t do it to impress your boss, and don’t draw attention to it. Just do it! And extra points will be awarded if you help others with their jobs!

• Share a smile and a “good morning” with someone you pass on the street. An extra bonus is that he or she will probably smile back and tell you the same thing.

• Ask a stranger standing in line behind you at the grocery store,“How are you doing today?” Then really listen and respond to the reply. You may be the only person who does that all day long. (My husband says I’m the only person he knows who can walk into Walmart and walk out with three new best friends. But I always reply, “All you have to say is ‘hello,’ and you can meet some of the nicest people!”)

• Share with others the joy of having a relationship with Jesus. It’s as simple as telling them what He has done for you and what He can do for them, too.

Of course, the list goes on and on, and I’m sure you’ve already thought of other ways to be a blessing. I’ve always heard, “God never wastes a willing heart.” Are you willing to be a blessing to someone? Ask Him to show you how, and don’t be surprised at His answer!

There is one other special thing about being a blessing to others: In Matthew 25:40, Jesus said, “As you did it unto the least of these… you did it unto me!” When you are a blessing to others, you are effectively being Jesus, imitating him, and obeying what he modeled here on earth until he died on the cross. And that is the very best news you could share with others. 

It’s the verse you’ve probably already memorized: Because of God’s great love for us, He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and allow mankind to be free from the guilt of our sin. You’ve heard it like this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him will not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). It’s a basic one-step process: Accept his no-strings-attached gift and receive new life in Christ.

So starting right now, Christian, why not try to make every day special for yourself and someone else. Do you know someone who needs the hope that only comes from Jesus? If the answer is “yes,” then tell him or her about Jesus’ sacrifice for us in 2022? 

Happy New Year!

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