For most people, the start of December means the final panic to prepare for Christmas. Have I got the food – the presents – the tree – the party – the ….
It can be a time of great stress and worry. For some, already struggling with insufficient resources to manage, the expectations of a ‘perfect Christmas’ for the children and family can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. It’s no wonder that the period after Christmas and early New Year can be a time when people feel really ‘down’.
Yet this should not be the reality. The festival of Christmas should be a time of great joy which continues throughout the year. After all, for Christians, it is when we celebrate that God sent His Son to be human and show us how much he loves and cares. Moreover, Jesus shows us by his example, just how to do it ourselves.
The church tries to slow down at the start of December. It explores themes of expectation as declared by the founding fathers of the community, foretelling as declared by the prophets of old, announcement as declared by John the Baptist and fulfillment as found in the person of Jesus. Setting the remembrance of the birth in this context helps us see that Christmas is but part of a whole. If we can live in that ‘whole’, we can enjoy the festival throughout the year and not seek just a massive high followed by extensive lows.
Happy Advent – Happy Christmas – Happy Year