Feeling Something at the Holidays

Feeling Something at the Holidays

Not caring is a trend in today’s culture. It’s just not “in” to feel something or express those feelings. It’s easy to go around saying “yeah, whatever”, never getting too deep, and hoping that you don’t have to share something that actually affects you because that would be very un-cool (and potentially offensive). Or maybe it’s just that you don’t have the time or the motivation to think too much about…anything.

Snowy Winter TreesThanksgiving is past, but I want to take a look at what it can mean to care about something, or many things, and why this holiday season is the best place to start.

Life is busy. Sleep is little. Gifts are Expensive. Family is complicated. Christmas is hyped up. There isn’t time to care. No one want’s to know what I think anyway. My experience only matters to me.

These are just some of the excuses that we can give to let ourselves off the hook when it comes to feeling things about the holiday season. We try to make it through, rather than enjoy the (sometimes bumpy) experience of the holidays. Or we get caught up in the commercialism of it all and forget the true feeling of the season.

You may be wondering what I mean by “feeling of the season.” It’s true that I’m a sentimental person who often looks back to past holidays with nostalgia and wonderment, but I also look forward to upcoming ones in the same way. I strive for the feeling of the season as much as I do the knowledge and reality of it.

But why? Because I think, as time passes, our culture moves further and further away from the core of what the holiday season should be about. Grace, peace, love, kindness, giving, selflessness, serving others, community, sharing burdens.

This aversion doesn’t stop with the holidays though. It’s invading our culture like a weed. It’s the idea that deep conversation isn’t needed anymore. That reminiscing brings us out of the present. That people’s feelings and thoughts are best left kept to themselves for fear that they could offend someone. That your experience only affects you.

 

Quote from Emilie Hendryx | Putting on the NewIt’s tragic. We’ve lost something crucial with the idea that conversation is unnecessary or that sharing things that matter to us isn’t important. Our stories are meant to affect those around us, from the stranger in line at the store to our spouse or best friend. Humanity is made up of intersecting lives that grow and expand when we are real with one another.

It’s a lot to ask, but I’d challenge you to truly think about holidays past. What were some amazing things that you experienced? What about happy (and difficult) times you’ve had during this season? How did those things affect you? What are you truly thankful for and why? What do you feel when you walk through the mall and see shoppers searching for the perfect gift for their loved one?

And then, after you think on these things, I challenge you to share them with others.

What? Share something personal that’s affected me? YES! Break out of your comfort zone and take a risk. Make a true connection with someone and let them know the really amazing—or really difficult—things you’ve experienced during a past holiday season.

Open hands holding a tree branch It probably sounds terrifying to some of you who wouldn’t characterize yourself as an open person, but we have been given our own, personal story in order to share it. To make bridges, encourage others, and connect with those around us. It wont be easy at first—maybe it’ll never really be easy—but I believe you’ll make deeper connections with those around you this season, and I think those connections will last and grow.

I put emphasis on opening up and feeling something during this holiday season because it creates the perfect opportunity to take the first step. What better way to share about things you’re truly thankful for (beyond a good job or financial security) than during Thanksgiving? And what a perfect opportunity to share how Jesus has affected your life during the time his birth is widely celebrated.

I’m not saying it will be easy, and I don’t think it will come naturally to most of us, but pray that God would not only give you the boldness but also the opportunity to open up to those around you and feel something deeply his holiday season.

Emilie Hendryx About Emilie Hendryx

Emilie is a freelance writer, photographer, and graphic designer living in Dayton, Ohio. She’s a member of ACFW and writes Young Adult fiction. In her spare time, you can find her designing fun bookish items for her Etsy and Society6 shops all while drinking too much coffee.
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Comments

  1. Great thoughts. Great advice. Great challenge. (Especially just after reading a book by Brene Brown)
    I tend to be more thinker than feeler, but I will add feeling to my list of December goals!

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  2. Thanks so much Lisa! Yes, I’m a thinker too. I think that’s why I need this challenge – to really delve deep and open myself up to feel and then share with others! 🙂

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  3. I love the idea of purposely sharing during the holiday season of how Jesus has blessed me and my family. I look forward to blessed conversation at the Christmas Eve dinner table, and being more purposeful in sharing His light throughout the Advent season.

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  4. Oh I love this Linda! Especially sharing around the dinner table! It’s a great place to share 🙂

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  5. This really got me thinking, Emilie. Taking a long, hard look at what we’re actually feeling, walking through memories, and being vulnerable with others can be scary. But vulnerability – both to ourselves and others – is a gateway to intimacy. And in a culture where intimacy is often lost and replaced by walls of cyberspace, this kind of thinking and sharing is certainly a path to a fuller life. Thanks for your encouragement.

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