Thursday, December 04, 2008

Does Christmas have to be a sad time?

Last Saturday, I spent the afternoon with some older people of our church and it was really a great time. I love spending time with this age group and listening to all their stories. They spoke about Christmas memories. All of them had something to share but in the end, all of them told the same: that Christmas is for children, that Christmas has no meaning as we grow older and that Christmas is a sad time because at this time of their lives, they have already lost many dear ones. And this made me think about the reasons why we say that.
Does Christmas really have to be a sad time?
I don't want to judge anyone because I'm still quite young, I still have my parents and one grandmother alive, I have children at home, so it is easier for me to speak. But I know, from other people's experience, that it is possible to feel happy at Christmas. And why?
Because Christmas is not just about children, or presents, or a house full of people. It is about the birth of Jesus Christ. And, as believers, we should feel very happy for that.
Statistics show that Christmas is one of the most stressful times of the year and that many people find themselves depressed because of Christmas. Is it really because of Christmas? Why does this happen?
  1. We all want to have the perfect Christmas: we want to buy the perfect presents, we want to host the perfect party and we want to do everything that it is on our Christmas list. But we don't have to. There is nothing perfect and we have to be realistic about this. And there's no problem at all if we don't do everthing that is on the list. We should consider other options, do what is possible and relax. And always spend within a budget because if we go into debt to buy Christmas presentes, we will have another reason to feel stressed at the beginning of the new year.
  2. Many people face Christmas alone and saddened for many reasons: divorce, no friends, old age, no children at home... But again, we can do something to change this.
  • get busy with other activities at home.
  • go to your church and look for parties and groups of people who are in the same situation as you.
  • phone your family and friends and invite them to visit you.
  • volunteer to help someone who is in a worse situation.
  • And PRAY.

3. When we have lost our loved ones, we don't feel happy and we don't want to celebrate. Sometimes we even feel guilty because we think we are disrespecting the memory of the loved ones that passed on. When this happens, we have to pray for God to help us not feel this way and honour the memory of our loved ones by enjoying the present and celebrating Christmas.

We should never forget that the most important thing about Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ and our relationship with Him. And as we grow older, we should count our blessings and not the sad facts of our lives.

Psalm 126
When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
The Lord has done great things for us, and we rejoiced.
Restore our fortunes, O Lord, like the watercourses in the Negeb.
May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy.
Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing, shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.

Rejoice by Kim Lewis


Winterwood said...

Hello Lara - nice to meet you and thanks for stopping by my blog! I particularly liked point no 3. here on this list and this will be a hard time for me so I will try and remember these words.

Mari said...

Another great post Lara! I think we focus on the wrong things too much at Christmas and that's why it seems sad when we don't accomplish it or are alone. You've given a lot of options and the reminder of why we should rejoice!

Lara Gisela said...

Yes, I understand. It is easier to say than to live by these words. But as I told in my post, I know from other people's experience, that it is possible.
I hope you have a very blessed Christmas.

Tibetan Star said...

I have heard that rejoicing is actually one of the most difficult spiritual practices!

Linda said...

Christmas for me always brings mixed feelings.. firstly, of course, JOY! .. our saviour was born, we have nice parties, a great christmas-eve service at church..

And then the mixed feelings come when I'm in church and sit down to watch the choir sing.. when I see mothers and daughters and aunts and grandma's in the choir.. and I realise that my family isn't there. Not because they're far away, heck.. they live 10 minutes away from our church!

.. But just because they don't want to be there. They don't want our saviour and they think they can live their lives the way they want to.... that makes me absolutely sad. My husband's family is all saved, and sometimes I envy him because of that (in a good way, not jealousy of course)

Nothing to do but keep praying for them ;)

Greetings from Holland!

Pug1 said...

Another excellent post Lara. I know that I need to refocus all the time! Truly Jesus is the reason for the season! CHEERS! Michele