How to Handle Your First Christmas Home from the Mission

If this is your first Christmas home from your mission, you may have mixed feelings about the experience.  And that is totally fine.  But, if you plan ahead a little you’ll be able to make this the best Christmas of your whole life.  All you have to do is decide.

Preparation Stirs Excitement

I love Christmas Eve.  In many ways, I love it more than Christmas itself.   There is so much anticipation and excitement.  In my family, we have lots of Christmas Eve traditions.  We eat clam chowder, have a talent show, write notes to Santa, and have peppermint hot fudge sundaes… just to name a few.  There’s something really stirring about Christmas Eve and the preparations we are making for Christmas. I feel the same is true in a lot of other areas of our lives.  Preparation stirs anticipation and excitement.

Experience Created in Our Minds

Have you ever noticed how when you’re are preparing for a trip it all feels so magical?  It’s because our brains have thoughts about how amazing the trip will be.  The trip is almost created in our minds before we even take the trip.  Kind of cool to think that anticipation and excitement is created with our thinking, and not the actual experience.

So, whatever the eve, whether the eve of a trip or the eve of Christmas… we can actually experience the emotions of the trip, or the emotions of Christmas before they even happen.

Happiness, Contentment, Joy and Excitement… and all with the way we choose to think about it.

We might be thinking:

  • This is going to be fun.
  • I can’t wait.
  • It’ll be so nice to spend time together.
  • I love having a change of pace.

And what I love is that we can access that thinking and therefore, those emotions, whenever we want to.  It’s a tool I call Making Decisions Ahead of Time.

If thoughts create feelings… which they do (read more about that in this article)… then, we have the ability to get intentional with our thinking and emotions.  In other words, by choosing our thoughts ahead of time we can feel however we want to feel in the upcoming situation.

Christmas at Home

What are you thinking about your first Christmas Home?  

  • Are you feeling lost, thinking you no longer have a purpose?
  • Are you feeling lonely, wishing you were back with your companions and friends?
  • Are you feeling overwhelmed, believing that you have to decide the entire course of your life over one Christmas Break?

It’s probably pretty obvious, but these thoughts are NOT going to create your Best Christmas Ever.

What You Look for, You Will Find

Because, here’s the other piece of it:  That age old saying, “What you look for, you will find,” is true!  Our brains love to compile evidence for what it is ALREADY believing.  Read more about that here.  

So, if you think you no longer have a purpose, guess what your brain will look for this Christmas?  ALL of the reasons you don’t have purpose.

But, what if you just decided that it’s okay you feel a little like you’ve lost your purpose, and it is STILL going to be the best Christmas you’ve ever had?

If you deeply and truly believed that, guess what your brain would find?  ALL the reasons this Christmas is the BEST.

Maybe You Want to Be a Little Sad

Please don’t misunderstand. You may WANT to miss your mission a little bit. You may WANT to be sad, and a little bit bummed. It actually makes perfect sense that you are. So, don’t push those emotions away or try to cover them up with “happy thoughts.”

Because when I say “the best,” I don’t mean that nothing goes wrong or that you don’t feel a little negative emotion sometimes.  However, even with the negative emotion, this can STILL be the best Christmas you’ve ever had.  And when you just decide that it is… your brain will show you how.

Your Brain Wants to Be Confused

Now, your brain doesn’t like decisions.  It will want to be confused about how to think and feel.  So, be patient with yourself if your brain wants to stay confused. But, I promise confusion is not necessary.  

Just decide today.  Make a decision ahead of time and you’ll start creating all those good emotions ahead of time, too.

Because when you really commit to your belief, your brain go to work looking for all the reasons that it is true!

I don’t know about you… but, I’ve already decided.

Best. Christmas. Ever. 

Give it a try.  You’ll see.  It’s super fun.

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Hey! I'm Jennie - The LDS Mission Coach.

Preparing for, serving and coming home from an LDS Mission can present countless changes and transitions. I’ve seen these changes put missionaries at the mercy of their emotions and questioning their abilities. With the tools I teach, young adults empower themselves to navigate every moment of the mission experience with epic, unwavering confidence.

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