The Co-op have an interesting billboard at the moment. It shows their cheese and biscuits and the strap-line is “Relax – Christmas is just round the corner.”
For many the concept of the proximity of Christmas engendering relaxation is a complete misnomer. How can they relax when there is so much to do? December 25th looms as one big deadline. The goal is “the perfect Christmas” or something at least that will keep everybody happy.
In many ways it is so sad that many of us have got trapped by the expectations that are heaped upon us at this time of year. Cards, presents, decorations, the tree, the food, the drink, the parties and all the rest; all dominate the horizon and can create a vast amount of stress.
Sadly, amidst all of this, what should be the two main foci of Christmas, namely the Christ and other people, have been lost sight of.
So what are we to say to all these things. Of course, one way out is to be become a complete non-Christmas celebrator altogether. But that is not my main purpose here. What of those who do celebrate the season; how can the stress be reduced? Here are a few questions perhaps to ask.:
- Do you really have to send all those cards? How about greeting people by e-mail instead perhaps?
- What about those presents; do all these people really have to have them? Do they have to be so big? Why not just give some money? Little Johnny will probably have little interest in your extravagant gift anyway.
- And do you really have to go to all that trouble to decorate?
- And does the meal really have to be so perfect? Yes, of course ladies want it to be nice. But remember: the most important thing is to have the friends and relatives there.
I am a failure in these things. Christmas does so easily become too stressful and we lose sight of God and others. But let us try not to be trapped by the propaganda that is rammed into our beings about having to achieve this and that so as to have a fulfilling Christmas
Several years ago May Lin and myself felt that we ourselves were being consumed by stress over Christmas and have sought subsequently, if not a little failingly, to wind back.
So with nineteen days left until Christmas, why not wind back a bit and relax a bit and get rid of some of those targets which are after all unnecessary.
And amidst it all don’t forget to think about why Jesus Christ did come into the world. He is:
- The Christ: He is God’s special anointed One; sent from God into this world
- Jesus: He came to save all who will believe from their sins
And if come to Jesus Christ this Christmas it will be the greatest Christmas of your life and eternity