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"Make it a joy-filled Christmas" by Lisa Simmons (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2019 Lisa Simmons. All rights reserved.[/caption] So I guess we're all going into the Advent/Christmas season with all the joy and happiness we can muster, right? Ha ha … I have noticed that every year as I get a little older, wiser and apparently more busy, that whole joy and happiness thing gets harder and harder to come by. Maybe it's because we watch all those Christmas movies where in two hours time everything comes to a happy ending no matter what has happened in the last two hours. Maybe it's because our memories of childhood Christmases are colored by a lot of time in-between to forget all the bad stuff. Maybe it's because we think, gosh darn I am older now, I should just have more time in my life to prepare for the holidays and I should be happy! Whatever is coloring your Christmas preparation mood this year, let me help take off the pressure. First of all, whatever "perfect" Christmas is to you, stop thinking of it that way. The food, the gifts, the spiritual preparation, whatever is keeping you from letting peace settle in your heart, stop for a moment and think … is it worth losing my peace over? And I am here to tell you the answer will always be "NO." "Make it a joy-filled Christmas" by Lisa Simmons (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2019 Lisa Simmons. All rights reserved.[/caption] Maybe it's my age; okay, I turned sixty last month. But in turning sixty I finally realized some things about myself. I am not patient, I love control, but most of all I want to get everyone in my life to heaven, myself included. It was the last motivator that finally got me into the confessional after a very long dry period of time where I kept putting it off because I "didn't feel ready." I finally got there because I felt the Holy Spirit beating me down into submission. Okay not really, but I think the Holy Spirit finally got the better of me, constantly saying, "You'll be a better person if you go." The peace I receive in the confessional never seems to last very long, but this time I was determined to make it last at least through Christmas! That meant no yelling at other drivers, not losing my patience in crowds, and most of all letting go of the control freak mentality I have trying to get all my kids and extended family together for Christmas. So what happened? Well of course the more determined you are to not doing something bad, the more opportunities arise to fight you along the way. Take, for instance, my youngest daughter, who just had her second child a month ago. She arranged for the baby's baptism to take place in a few weeks, but now is struggling with in-law misunderstandings and interference. She needed to vent, so she called me. In the past, I have let this be an obstacle to my peace, getting defensive for  my daughter who is trying to make her husband and her children a happy home. Stay calm and forgiving and non-partisan; she just needs to vent to be able to smile and deal with things. Round two: Driving across town four times a day to and from work and lunch is probably one of my big patience suckers. Somehow trying to understand why people need to cut across four lanes of traffic with no signal and a lot of brakes is way beyond my patience quota. Holy Spirit, help me relax and think calm thoughts about people and give them space! On the flip side, finding gifts, or making gifts as I prefer to do, has for some reason been easier this week. I found the perfect gifts and suddenly had time to finish three afghans and a pair of socks. Go figure; thank you Holy Spirit. "Make it a joy-filled Christmas" by Lisa Simmons (CatholicMom.com) Copyright 2019 Lisa Simmons. All rights reserved.[/caption] How do all things help that last motivator of getting everyone to heaven? Well, if I can take myself out of the equation of craziness and in the column of calm thinking, peaceful joy, maybe it will rub off on other people in my life and elsewhere, like in traffic. I mean it can't hurt to just listen and nodded and not get mad for my daughter, and yelling at rude drivers in traffic only makes me drive worse. Jesus was almost always calm around the people he was with and it had a great impact on them. So the more I try to act like him, hopefully it can help others act like Him too! Have a peaceful, joy-filled Advent/Christmas season! Ring out the joy in your heart and it will turn into a chorus of bells!
Copyright 2019 Lisa Simmons