‘Twas the night before Christmas …

advent-400pxAs we steadily travel toward Christmas Eve, it is sometimes difficult to stay balanced and serene in the midst of the frenzied pace all around us.  Here, then, are some useful tips for staying calm while those all around you are staging a last minute dash to the shopping malls.  These are in no particular order and are based solely on the quirky thoughts of the writer.  No public survey or poll has been conducted. It all pours out of my brilliant mind.

Here, then, are ten ways to keep calm and stress free during the coming days:

  1. Write poetry.  I am not kidding! Nothing soothes the mind like an iambic pentameter or Haiku poem.  It doesn’t have to make sense to anyone except you.
  2. Keep a journal.  Highlight the positive aspects of your day.  Even a smile from a stranger rates as a special gift when you are journalling.  Next year, look back and be astonished at how many positive experiences came your way.
  3. Walk in the snow.  Enjoy the crunch of it.  It will, after all, be your companion for the next four months.  Did you know that in God’s beautiful creation, no two snow flakes are alike. Every one is different—just like us!  Now that’s a good reason to love snow.
  4. Phone someone you haven’t talked to in a long time.  Marvel at your friendship with one another.  Be grateful for it.
  5. Mend a quarrel.  Carrying anger inside of you twists the soul and weighs as much as the erratic boulders out at Okotoks.
  6. Don’t be guilted into buying gifts you can’t afford.  Nothing is more memorable than hand made gifts.  I still have a special ornament for our Christmas tree made by our daughter Dawn when she was 8 years old.  What a creative, talented and beautiful child!  Much like yours.
  7. Get some rest!  An afternoon nap is a delicious thing.  If you are working during the day, find a quiet spot and spend 15 minutes having a good snooze.  Your boss will probably give you a raise because you are so much sharper than your sleepy colleagues. But that’s not the reason you take a nap.  You take a nap to stay healthy and serene! (See I told you this would be good!)
  8. Don’t pass up on an opportunity to help someone else.  How about shovelling the sidewalk of your 86 year old neighbour?  Or writing a letter to the government telling our leaders to find a way to end child poverty in Alberta.  You might change the lives of the 88,000 children in Alberta who are living in poverty this Christmas.
  9. Don’t drink and drive!  Sorry, this one just had to make the list.
  10. Play silly, non-competitive games.  Don’t know any?  Then make one up.
  11. Laugh, out loud.  It is contagious and changes the atmosphere in a room immediately.

Oops!  That’s 11 tips.  The last one is a bonus.

Before I’m done, here is one more stress-free gift I offer you.  My prayers for your spiritual well being in the days ahead.

May your waking hours and your sunlit dreams be filled with the wonder and joy of this remarkable season when a child is born, giving us the promise of new beginnings.

Blessings and shalom, Linda

p.s. Plan to attend one of our Christmas Eve Services – 7 p.m. or 11 p.m.

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