On the 1st Day of Self-Care Katie gave to me . . .
One key to holiday relief!
My mom’s cousins know how to have a good time. Their favorite Christmas Movie is A Christmas Story, someone always has at least one practical joke in mind, and, most importantly, they know how to laugh. When I’m around this side of my family I’m always reminded how often I take things too seriously and don’t forget to laugh.
When you think of laughing this holiday you might think, “Good thought, I need to plan a silly game night with the kids or schedule in at least one of my husband’s favorite Christmas comedies during our holiday movie nights,” but that’s actually not what I really mean. Yes, game time and comedy are good, but I am actually talking about laughing in any circumstance. You see, the cousins I’m referring to haven’t had cushy lives or lives lacking loss. Actually, they’ve had it pretty rough some years. Some would say, most years. I won’t go into a list of the struggles they’ve had, but I will give an example. One of my cousins lost a leg a few years ago in a tragic accident. Of course, there was (and sometimes still is) grief associated with that. However, there is still laughter. You can only imagine the brainstorm I heard happening the first Christmas we were back together after my cousin's lost leg. She and some of my other cousins realized that my legless cousin had new-found Halloween costume potential. (I think they landed on a pirate with a peg leg for the following Halloween.) Despite big losses, the family was able to laugh.
Christmas after losing a leg isn’t perfect. It requires laughter to thrive. The thing is every Christmas is imperfect and every holiday requires laughter to thrive. There is always some loss during the holidays.
How can you laugh more this holiday and stress less? What can you do to let go of the imperfections and find the strength to laugh?
Can you let it go when the kids decorate the walls with markers right before the guests arrive?
Can you laugh when your husband runs to the store and grabs the wrong brand of chocolate chips (or gets peanutbutter chips instead)?
Can you chuckle when you burn the turkey and be okay with calling in a pizza?
Can you laugh when the dog licks a corner of the cake you just baked?
Not quite there yet? Me either. Join me in asking God to help you receive this gift a little better this holiday season. I believe laughter is a gift from God. “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength" (Proverbs 17:22 NLT).
My cousin's laughter hasn't come without effort. Joy requires strength and discipline, but the art of letting go can produce soul healing. May we use laughter as part of that “good medicine” rather than dwelling in the brokenness that “saps [our] strength.”