Most winter holidays focus on the theme of Light in the Darkness. Light inspires hope whether you are celebrating the birth of Christ, the sustaining oil of Hanukkah, or light during the longest night of the year on the Winter Solstice. Sparkling holiday lights in the neighborhood brighten otherwise bleak winter nights. The warmth of a fire leaves you feeling cozy especially when it’s cold outside.
As the days grow shorter and you notice the contrast of light in the darkness, consider who helps you sustain your inner light. During the darkest times in your life, who brightened your spirits? Who held hope when you struggled to find it? When you see others lost in darkness, what can you do to be a beacon of hope for them?
This holiday season consider giving the gift of gratitude. For those who have been a light in your darkness, write an extended thanksgiving tribute and then make a date to read your letter aloud to them. Describe how this person impacted your life and share your favorite memories of this special relationship. Studies of this practice show that it amplifies optimism and wellbeing in the giver, and, of course, this will be a cherished gift for the receiver.
Giving gratitude will help you keep the holiday season in perspective. Unlike gifts given with a click of the mouse or a swipe of the card, this is a gift of time, thoughtfulness and love. It will be a touching antidote to the holiday frenzy for you both.
The darkness outside makes the holiday lights more dramatic and beautiful. When you feel stressed, shift your attention to gratitude for love and hope. Be a light for those who have brightened your life in dark times. By sharing heart-felt gratitude, you illuminate both of your spirits. By savoring love, you amplify it.
May your holidays be brightened by hope and gratitude.