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Christmas Spirit or Christmas Stress?

Christmas Spirit or Christmas Stress?

Christmas is a time for giving and receiving of presents. It is a time that people love and enjoy the festivities, or it can be a time when frustration rises, and people feel pressured to get everything done before December 25. How should we respond to Christmas and what is it really all about? Christmas is an opportunity to stop and smell the season, pause and reflect on what is the perfect gift.

Celebrating an important event can be very uplifting, it can bring joy and excitement to our hearts. Christmas is a time for celebrating, a time to buy presents, to see the joy on children’s faces and a time to indulge in delicious, decadent foods. Many hours go into shopping for presents, just looking for that special item, hiding the presents, wrapping the presents then finally giving the presents. Many hours also go into shopping for food, cooking a feast that will hopefully delight everyone and sitting down to celebrate with family and friends. We know this to be true because our television advertisements and store brochures are full of colourful images to entice us into preparing the best Christmas we could ever have, where we are elated and full of joy.

Sometimes Christmas evokes different emotions; anxiety, stress, sadness, frustration, grief, loss and even anger. Have you ever had to fight for a car park when trying to do the groceries and the supermarket is full, everyone pushing trolleys that don’t steer properly? Ever had the disappointment of trying to get that perfect gift but you just couldn’t get it? Ever looked at a family gathering and noticed that someone was missing? Ever had to spend Christmas in two different locations because of a family breakdown? The emotions these events evoke are usually very raw and sadness, or even anger can often rob us from enjoying the very thing God gave to us at Christmas, His Son, Jesus the most perfect gift. I’m sure Mary felt scared and sad travelling away from her family to Bethlehem, not finding that perfect accommodation, giving birth without the help of a midwife, laying her baby in a feeding trough rather than a lovely new cot.

I often hear “I’ve got to get this done, I’m running out of time, there is just so much to do!” The important thing to remember is that, if it doesn’t get done, it doesn’t matter. It is far more important to make connection with others, to build relationships, to share love, to support each other, especially those who have lost those that they have loved, to hold someone who is hurting, to reach out to someone who may never have experienced love and acceptance. My challenge is, to not let this festive season of goodwill toward men take hold of us but, let us take hold of God’s message of restoration in sending His Son to be the Saviour of mankind. Let’s take time out to stop and smell the pudding, touch the tree, speak messages of love to one another, taste the sumptuous chocolates, look at the beauty Christmas brings and hear the voices singing carols. We should embrace God’s love and share it with all you come into contact with.









Catherine Redwood
College Counsellor

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