I feel like there’s a collective *harumph* going into December this year. Many of those around me, including me, seem to have a feeling of foreboding about the holidays and are grumbling about how 2015 was a crappy year. Any gratitude and thankfulness revolves around being happy that 2015 is almost over.

I know for my wife and I, we’ve had a lot going on and feel a little stressed and strung out. I feel like between work, family, obligations, money, home, kids, etc., that we are just churning and attempting to run through tar to get to the next commitment. I acknowledge that our problems are “first world problems” and would be scoffed at by others. But I don’t think that means we can push aside our stress and fail to recognize the chaos for what it imposes on us. Our problems may not be huge to some people, but they are personal and important to us.

There’s also that stress of making everything PERFECT. It has to be full of amazing memories for the children, with no hint of a crack in the magic of Christmas. Food must be amazing and guests must be entertained and accommodated.

And there’s the constant reminder of the family members, friends, loved ones that are not around to share the holidays with us.

And, then there’s the current mood and constant media/social media reminders that the world doesn’t always seem like a joyful place. We are scared and overwhelmed by things that we cannot resolve easily.

Regardless of what your respective religious beliefs are, I think that December is a time of the year to stop and reflect on the joy, the goodness, the fact that we are all here. It’s not always as simple or easy to write down little “what I’m grateful for today…” notes to yourself when things are overwhelming. Sometimes, you need another focus to break through the stress or sadness and carry on.

I want my kids to feel peace in a daily world of chaos. That’s something we all have control over.

I stumbled upon this article written two years ago. I know that a lot of us (me included) can be sick and tired of hearing all of these happiness quotes or empowerment ideologies. The constant “how to be happy and enjoy today” postings that pop up on Facebook news feeds can be more frustrating at times than inspiring the peacefulness it intends. But Kristi Ling’s post in that article stuck with me, because it’s simple. It’s simple and it’s true and, I think, it’s necessary.