I have a love-hate relationship with December.
A little musical inspiration.
I love the dark, cool days. I love the lights and music. I love the parties, celebrations, and simple time together with family and friends. Some of my favorite time of prayer is connected to the music of Advent and Christmas (see People Look East, and Of The Father's Love Begotten).
I hate that during most Decembers (14 out of the last 15, to be exact), I get sick. The full array of seasonal illness will hit me in any combination--bronchitis, colds, stomach issues, sinus infections, laryngitis. Last December was a doozy, because I don't think I was ever truly well the entire month.
Stewing, fretting, worrying, forms the tinder that starts the flames of misery. I've tried many strategies in various combinations to avoid becoming a walking infirmary, from Echinacea, zinc, mega doses of vitamin C, exercise, green tea, Airborne, raw vegetable juice, getting to bed early, even fasting. I gave up aspiring toward the True Meaning of Christmas, and turned off the TV and radio when told to arm myself for The War on Christmas.
Two things are different this December. While one week of December remains, I have not yet been sick. What have I done differently?
1. I have asked for help. Not that the season is on me, but I like to take things on myself to the point of exhaustion. My children help with housework. I asked my wife and a colleague to preach for me two of Advent's Sundays. My parents came over one day this month, and packed to prepare for our next move, and did some of our laundry. I have wonderful volunteers who take on numerous tasks at church to add to the beauty of the season.
2. I decided I was going to find joy in whatever was given when people helped. Rather than obsess about whether the contribution was up to my subjective standards, I've resolved to find joy in the uniqueness of the gift given and the personality it reflects. In theory.
As the country song says, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. But there is something to letting go. If I make it through the month with health, I must pay attention to the variables involved. Letting go matters.
May the presence of Emmanuel--God with us in Jesus--be a celebration of peace and health for you.