Managing Anxiety During the Holidays

A Prayer for Peace of Mind

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I was a carefree kid with wild curls and hopeful wide eyes. On Christmas Eve, I’d shake every box and peak in every bag searching for hints and clues that might lead me to the presents I’d been praying for all year. I remember pleading with Jesus and Santa for new toys and pink purses. I left no room for error. By December 1st, each year, a laminated Christmas list with specifics (and SKU numbers) would be posted on the fridge. I believed in Santa Claus but I knew if Santa forgot something, my mom wouldn’t.

I don’t make lists anymore. I still believe Jesus is listening when I plead and pray but my requests don’t involve Barbie or her dream house anymore. I’m trying to keep my own house in order. 

There’s something about the innocence of childhood that can’t be mimicked or replaced. The purest moments of my life are long gone. I can accept that I’m no longer that curly haired kid. This year, I just want to be healthy enough to be present. I want to be grateful enough to stay in the moment without obsessing over a to-do list silently as the people I love most, open their gifts. I don’t want to rush through the holidays in an effort to get to January 1st and it’s obligations. I just want peace of mind for Christmas.

Here’s the prayer I’m reciting daily this holiday season. Feel free to borrow it or revise it to serve you. Happy Holidays.

Dear Lord,

Grant me the ability to enjoy the moment and to see family as a miracle instead of the source of my anxiety. I trust you and I know you have miracles in mind for me. I’m trusting that the next few weeks will be filled with joy and laughter. I’m releasing all fear and hesitation. I am eager to be present. I am committed to loving harder and worrying less. Help me maintain joy and enjoy every detail and conversation. Guard my heart and protect my mind. Allow me to respond gracefully and accept love.


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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.


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