What is it about the Christmas season that makes it so stressful? Is it our own expectations? Where do these come from? I don’t really have an answer other than I guess life’s like that. And stuff like being ill with the ‘flu for a whole week doesn’t really help! Still, at this end of the celebrations I can say that actually it all went rather well. Presents were unwrapped, by the dozen it seemed; food was prepared and then eaten, with great enjoyment; everyone was on good form, despite my head feeling like someone had replaced my brain with cotton wool by the evening! There was no arguments, no drunken outbursts; no-one was ill or upset. It was a very enjoyable day and for that I am grateful. I am also grateful for the ability to buy and enjoy new things, for the space to house toys and gifts, for the efficiency of our boiler and new home!
Of course in amongst all the traditions of the day we remember what it’s actually all about. I watched The Nativity on the BBC this year with great interest and a sense of wonder at the new lease of life given to one of the oldest stories. It was a fantastic reminder of just what we are celebrating: Jesus, God made man (or baby)! Truly the people walking in darkness have seen a GREAT light.
However stressful our Christmas may or may not have been, we need to say a prayer for those whose Christmas has not gone to plan, or who didn’t have a plan in the first place due to lack of funds, home or family or perhaps due to poor health. I find that at the moment I am always being reminded of just how much we have and how important it is to be grateful for everything God gives us, including Jesus as a baby.
I’m off to make space for the new toys by giving away lots of the old ones, and organising the recycling of the furniture we no longer need. I’m looking forward to the New Year, I hope you are too; may God bless you richly in 2011.