By Betsy St. Amant, Contributing Writer
Christmas has been unwrapped. You stare at the Christmas lights outside on your roof, wondering how you're going to convince your husband to take them down before July rolls around. You notice the tree standing alone in the corner, unlit and undecorated. Somehow, you just can't bear to put it back into its pine-strewn box for another 11 months.
You look away and realize there is still confetti from the New Year's party littering the corners of your living room. The clumps of ash on the street testify that there will be no more fireworks. Everything feels barren. No more sparkling apple cider. No more brightly colored gifts nestled under your tree. There's not even a sale at the mall to cheer you up. You feel the familiar Holiday Blue Bug creeping up to nibble at your ankles.
This time of year can be hard. It seems all the fun has passed and there is nothing to look forward to. It's just back to the same old routine, the same job at work, and the same family problems except this time you feel a few extra pounds have joined you for your venture into the New Year. All this, plus a glance at the credit card statement, is more than enough to send any wife or husband into the holiday blues.
As tempting as it may be, don't let the blues settle in. Start by thinking back to the holiday fun with a cheerful heart, ready to relish the memories. Scrapbook the pictures from your camera and provide yourself something in which to reminisce occasionally.
Then, look forward. Realize this is an exciting time of year – a time for a fresh start and a second chance. The year before you is pure and untouched. At this moment, there are no mistakes dragging you down. There are no guilt trips or "should-have's" tapping you on the shoulder. There is just a glorious, long year ahead of you, a whole 365 days in which you can make new memories.
Drag out the pen and paper. Make yourself a list of goals in which you would like to accomplish this year. Go a step further and make yourself specific timelines for these goals rather than just "within the year." You'll be amazed at how simply writing something down can help make it happen.
What are your dreams for this new year? What do you want to accomplish with your spouse? Do you want to go on that vacation this summer? Do you want to reupholster that couch? Redo the bathroom? Add on to the garage? Dream together and dream big! There is no goal too unreachable, no star set too high in the sky for you to touch because with God, nothing is impossible.
It might make you feel a little sad to put away your Christmas decorations and to let life return to "normal." But it doesn't have to be this way. Look to the future with joy and spend this time preparing for what God has in store for you and your marriage. Find ways to focus on being the best wife or husband you can be this coming year, and watch what can happen.
Most importantly, don't forget to add God to your list for the new year. Make a resolution to spend more time in His presence. Losing weight and adding on to the house are great goals, but nothing is more worthwhile or brings more joy than committing in your heart to know your Savior a little better this upcoming year.
The tree is put away. The lights are back in the storage room. The confetti has been vacuumed up. But spring is just around the corner. Hope blooms anew in your heart and the fragrant smell of the future wafts in front of you. And in the midst of it all, God beckons: "For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord. â Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, to give you a hope and a future'" (Jeremiah 29:11).
Betsy St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her husband, Brandon. They recently celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary. Betsy has an associate's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.