devozine

Spiritual Practice

15 Holiday Depression Busters

Sylvia Russell

1.  Babysit. Look at the child when he or she is asleep and imagine yourself as a baby. Think about the baby Jesus and remember that you are also a child of God.

2.  Get five or six friends together and visit a group of older adults. Touch each person on the arm as you wish them a Merry Christmas. Most older people are more in need of a touch than of any gift you can wrap.

3.  Take a younger brother or sister to a dollar store to buy Mom and Dad a Christmas gift. Give them a few bucks and let them shop. No fair telling them what to buy! Notice their excitement on Christmas morning as they give their hand-pocked gifts to Mom and Dad!

4.  Get your youth group to go Christmas caroling in the church neighborhood. Alert several members that you will be coming to their door. Those who are homebound especially enjoy a visit. Go back to the church afterward for a bowl of chili.

5.  Help sponsor a “Make a Gift Day” for small children in your church. Help the children make and wrap gifts for their families to open on Christmas morning. Parents get to ship while you child-sit.

6.  Create dance steps or movements to accompany the lyrics and melody of one of your favorite Christmas hymns. Ask your church choir director if several youth might perform the dance in worship.

7.  After the Christmas services are over, take a poinsettia to someone who could not attend. Tell them that the poinsettia was in the sanctuary during all the music, prayers, worship, and celebration of Christ’s birth, and now brings on expression of that love directly to them.

8.  Help prepare Christmas dinner for someone who cannot afford a meal or is physically unable to prepare it. Enjoy some of it with them!

9.  Sing the wonderful music of Christmas by joining a church choir or by playing your favorite CDs and singing along.

10. Exercise and eat goodies in moderation over the holidays so that you will stay healthy and avoid getting the flu.

11. Wrap “gifts of service” coupons and hang them on your Christmas tree. Examples include: “Good for one hug.” “Good for one car wash.” “Good for a week of taking out the garbage.”

12. Thank God for the person you miss who is not with you this Christmas. Cry. “See” the person, wherever they are, celebrating God’s love that came to earth through Jesus. Be glad!

13. Have a birthday party for Jesus. Wrap a gift that symbolizes something you will give to Jesus in the coming year. “Feel” Jesus giving you a hug in response to your gift!

14. Find a friend you can talk to about what has you down this Christmas. Don’t keep it all inside! Ask this friend to pray with you and for you during the holidays when the “blues” seem to get worse.

15. Every morning think of 20 things that you are thankful for. Make a running list of these in your journal and read them when you get depressed.

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DIG DEEPER

Read Lamentations 3:19–24. Today, start your list of 20 things you are thankful for (see number 15, above).

Sylvia Russell is a diaconal minister serving Pasadena Community United Methodist Church in St. Petersburg, Florida.

—from devozine (November/December 1996). Copyright © 1996 by The Upper Room®. All rights reserved.

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