Distribution: Please distribute to all Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Dispatch personnel – Merry Christmas 2017

First, I again want to say thank you to all the Chiefs, Sheriffs, Officers, Administrators, fire fighters, medics, and fellow Chaplains who have made it possible for me to distribute this message.
I wish you and your families a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. For those of you in stations or cars or behind the mic working during the holidays, we appreciate the sacrifices you and your family are making while ensuring our safety and security. It does not go unappreciated or unnoticed.
The holidays are upon us again. It’s supposed to be a time of joy, giving and happiness. But what it actually turns out to be something else. You may have to work Christmas Day, or the night shift, and you don’t feel the “Christmas Spirit”. Maybe you are alone (or just feel that way). Maybe you just want to skip Christmas all together. So what are we to do?
What I’m not going to tell you is that all the problems will be fixed overnight (I only wish that were true) . But we can begin the walk to be happier. After all, isn’t that what most people want? We just want to be happier, right? So here are some ideas on what to do this season.
1. Don’t spend what you don’t have. (Sometimes I need that reminder too!)
2. It’s OK to say no sometimes. Sometimes we have to take time for the people closest to us…and OURSELVES.
3. Giving because you feel you “have to” is not necessarily generosity. Giving is great, but sometimes we can give too much and over-extend ourselves. Sometimes we have to “scale back” to be healthy.
4. Make a snowman and then demolish it. Sometimes a little fun can ease the tension…or make your neighbors think you’ve been too stressed. Plus it would be funny on YouTube.
5 Parties: It’s just a party.  Everything does not have to be perfect. Have some people over and just have a good time. No one will care if the forks are in the wrong order or you forgot to get Pepsi (but don’t forget Mountain Dew though, they may riot).
6. Avoid the hustle and bustle – shopping online can be cheaper and faster…and you can do it in your pajamas drinking a raspberry tea.
 If you’re able, end every day by turning on the Christmas tree lights, turning off all the other lights, and relaxing with a cup of hot chocolate or tea.
7. Go somewhere and look at lights
8. Find something to laugh about.
9. Make gratitude list where you document the reasons you are thankful for people in your life as a gift.
10. Help someone less fortunate than you.
How happy do you want to be? The bigger question is “Why wait?”
During the holidays, I always put in this information, because I know that someone may need it. The holidays are meant to be times of joy, happiness, time with those we love and hope. While it can produce stress for even the best of us, for some of you can be a time of sadness, frustration or depression. It can be hard to balance out what you have to deal with and still know that there are great people in society as well. I also know that it’s hard for us to reach out sometimes (and I’m no exception to this rule). If you find yourself struggling in this holiday season, don’t hesitate to reach out for assistance. Your departments may have Employee Assistance Care, Chaplains, Chiefs, and any other Supervisor available for help. There is also other Clergy and/or even friends for guidance and assistance should you need it. My phone is always on and I’ll make myself available to help you in any way that I can. Call us, grab us after roll call, or send an email. Reach out if you need to.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best wishes for 2017. I’ve said it before and will say it again, you all are heroes. I don’t know how often you hear it, but I’m certain it’s not nearly enough.

Dr. Mike Crain I. D.Min.

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