Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.
This time last year I was sitting on the edge of wonder.
But it wasn’t good wonder. It was cliff-edge, anxiety-inducing, close-my-eyes-nauseating wonder.
Isn’t it funny how wonder can work either way?
Wonder-dread or wonder-hope.
I was wonder-dreading, and it was awful.
I remember sitting down joking with a friend that I wasn’t ready for 2017. I didn’t want it to start.
On the outside I was smiling, jovial. But in all seriousness I wanted to grab her shoulders and scream with the kind of wild panic in my eyes a protagonist in a horror movie would have, screaming for help.
I wondered if things would turn out okay. I wondered if I’d get through another week.
I wondered if anyone else ever felt as lost and as scared as I did?
I wondered where God was in it all.
I did find Him, really.
I found Him in the strength I had that was new each day.
I found Him in the fight that rose up in me that caused me to pray hard for my family.
12 months on, I can see that the wonder-dread was generous in its lessons.
And the wonder-dread has turned into wonder-hope.
I wonder what this next year holds with a sense of hopeful anticipation.
I am ready to shake off the last year, but I’m also thankful for what I’ve learned.
I know we can’t choose our circumstances, sometimes we have no control over what happens to us – but we have so much control over the way we respond to those things that feel like they are going to overwhelm us. And I’ve learned through it all that I can choose.
I can choose how I think.
I can choose to wonder with excitement on purpose.
Picture the ultimate best possible outcomes. Don’t give up hope. Tell yourself to see it differently. You’re the protagonist in your own story. Maybe the action is rising. Maybe there’s a critical choice moment. Maybe everything has come crashing down to a crushing climax. Your story isn’t finished. Choose not to see it as hopeless. I believe in happy endings, the same way I believe in Christmas – with hopeful expectation.
While we can’t choose what happens to us, we can choose what happens in us.
Don’t let your thoughts wander dangerously into the hopeless territory.
Look after your body – your mind will thank you! Drink enough water, get enough sleep, prioritise some exercise; it’s amazing how just going for a walk can help lift the fog and bring hope.
Let’s wonder with hopeful expectancy all the good that the coming year will bring.