Sad At Christmas? Advice for Coping with Holiday Blues

 UMC.org Feature by Joe Iovino* December 4, 2014 In December, we watch “magical” Christmas movies, shop from stores promising a special season, and hear songs proclaiming this as “the most wonderful time of the year.” We feel pressure to be jolly, but sometimes we’re not. If you or someone you love is struggling with the Christmas blues, you are not alone. Many people find the season difficult. To help you through what may be a challenging Christmas season, we sought sound advice from United Methodist pastors, counselors, and others. Accept feelings Though you may feel like you are supposed to be merry, don’t force it. “You just can’t be where you’re not,” says retired United Methodist state correctional chaplain, The Rev. Ben Wright. “So if you feel down,” he continues, “feel down.” As he tells the members of the grief support group he facilitates in his United Methodist congregation, “When we acknowledge that we are down, it helps us.” We ought to give others space to feel whatever they are feeling as well. United Methodist counselor Cindy Elrod cautions, “be in touch with your own anxiety that may surface when you are in the presence of someone who appears to be in distress, so that you are not trying to ‘fix’ them in order to ease your own distress.” Manage expectations There can be a lot of pressure to make Christmas perfect. Megan Forshey, program manager of Gilda’s Club Nashville, reminds us to, “try to let go of how things have always been or are supposed to be and allow this holiday to reflect your current reality.” If you...

Guest Blog by Mikell Clayton – Whom Are The “Least-of-These”?

God says that we should love and care for the least of these among us….but might I beg the question, whom are the least of these? There are the obvious answers: little ones who rely on us, with open hearts and inquisitive minds….there are the downtrodden and the penniless…there are the ill and the ill-tempered…there are the socially awkward and insecure….and those weathered by time and disheartened by fate. But what about the less obvious – the ones who struggle privately in the confines of their room, beneath their small pedantry and those who hide behind their distant gazes? What about the financially stable college graduate who has a fairly secure life, but drinks himself almost sick every evening? What about the suburban house wife who hides behind her gaudy jewelry and awkward smile? What about the girl whom night after night goes home with whichever guy happened to strike her fancy, or the child who desperately searches for their way in this world? Is she not a least-of-these? Is he not the least-of-these as well? What about those whose lives feel like nothing more than an exercise in futility, and those who grieve the loss of love, life or even innocence? Or….what about our fellow Christians? Rich and poor…..young and old….trying, surviving and giving up….what if we are all the least-of-these? Every single one of us? If w were to realize it, could we willfully come down from the pedestals and finally love hard at last? Would we suddenly see those people who irritate us daily as God so lovingly sees them? Would we be less annoyed when...

Daily Bible Readings

Read along with us during Advent as we prepare our hearts to receive the Christ Child.  Next week we will be the Sunday before Christmas! Monday:  Luke 1:5-25                    Tuesday:  Luke 1:26-38 Wednesday:   Luke 1:39-56           Thursday:  Luke 1:57-66 Friday:  Luke 1:67-80                      Saturday:  Luke...
Regifting

Regifting

Luke 1:26-38 Today in worship the kids presented their annual Christmas play, reminding us that this season is all about the gift.  And by “gift,” we don’t mean a PS4 or a pair of roller skates or whatever it is you’re hoping for; we mean the best gift of Jesus Christ. This has gotten me thinking about regifting.  Regifting is the practice of taking an item given to you, then repurposing said item as a gift to another person – usually without mentioning how you got it.  “What,” I wondered, “is the most frequently regifted item?” So of course I searched the interweb for this information, expecting some statistics about “The most regifted items of 2014.”  Sadly, I found only conjecture and theory with no research to back them up.  But my quest for knowledge would not be stopped; by the magic of the internet I conducted my own survey!  I asked my Facebook friends and Twitter followers, “What of the following items are you the most likely to regift?”  26 people anonymously took this survey, and I share the official results with you today!  (Yes – twenty-six.  It seems my 1,097 Facebook friends are quite busy this time of year.  Or uninteresting in regifting.  Or both.) Okay, without any further delay, here you go… the top 10 most likely to be regifted items! Gift cards Jewelry Books Gift Baskets Housewares Alcohol Clothing Candles Fruitcakes Bathsoaps Have you noticed that there’s an obvious item missing from this list?  Not only should it be a top ten regift, it should be the number one regifted item! I’ll give you a...

Daily Scripture Readings: Week of 12/14

This coming Sunday – December 20th – will be the last Sunday of Advent and we’ll reflect on the role of the innkeeper in the story of Jesus’ birth.  Read along with us to get ready with these suggested passages; they will also be posted to our Facebook page each day. Monday:  Luke 1:5-25 Tuesday: Luke 1:26-38 Wednesday: Luke 1:39-56 Thursday: Luke 1:57-66 Friday: Luke 1:67-80 Saturday: Luke...