Admittedly I've been struggling a bit lately. I know part of it is post-election blues, and the thought of Thanksgiving and Christmas without any of our kids, kids-in-law, and grandkids around, and not being able to go and visit any of them does bother me. Oh well.
So, rather than be down about all of these things which are completely out of my control, I am, instead, going to focus on the things that make me happy (and grateful) at this time of year. There are several ways I have decided to tackle this -
1) Don't watch the news. Period. If I want to know what the weather is going to be like I'll look on my phone or go to weather.com. I don't need to hear about politics, or murders, or anything negative, so I won't.
2) Focus on the real reason for the season. First, we are celebrating all that we have been blessed with. (So very much, which, by the way isn't really ours, it all belongs to Heavenly Father, He is just kind enough to allow us to use what belongs to Him) Second, we celebrate the greatest blessing we have been given in celebrating the birth, the life, the Atonement, and the resurrection of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. (That thought entails so much more, but that is the simple version of it.)
3) Giving service. When we are in the service of our fellow men/women, we truly are in the service of our God. When we give of our time, talents, energy, to others, we are happier.
4) Appreciation for others - while we may not be able to be with our family on these holidays, and sending gifts is a minor way of expressing love, I count my greatest blessings in knowing and loving the family that we have... as well as others that aren't in our family, that we love deeply.
Having just made that list I discovered that the 'burdens' of life already feel a bit lighter. What I am also reminded of is that what truly matters to me is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, our family, and all the other people that I love, and that love me in return.
I am so grateful for the tender mercies of the Lord in my life, and how He helps me, through the Spirit, to focus on what matters; and as a result feel genuine happiness and joy.