Its that time of year again and as always I find myself looking forward to the joy of the occasion, excited about being with family and friends while at the same time anxious about the preparations, concerned about overspending and fearful about where I’m going to find the energy to manage it all.
As I reflect on Christmas I am reminded that it comes and it goes – it’s a busy day usually with some highlights and some lowlights. I love the excitement of the little ones but worry about their overtired tempers, their interest more in the packaging rather than the gifts, their voracity (both charming and greedy), their laughter and their tears. I reflect on the anxiety of finding gifts that I hope will be enjoyed by the recipients but that are sometimes cast aside, returned to me at a later date or regifted to another. I worry about finding the energy to climb ladders and workout power points to services the lights that decorate the house. And what about the food, will it work for everyone? Its an early start to get the food underway after a late night listening to carols while wrapping presents. How to find seating for all and will the weather force us inside or will there be enough shade outside if the weather is fine? Will there be harmony or will there be tensions and disagreements.
Its one day but a day that occurs at the end of a long year where people have been bringing work to a close and where they are tired and in need of a break and rest. It’s a day when things can fall apart, when tensions are high and tempers short. It can be a loving and supportive time but equally it can be a time when family resentments come to the surface and arguments arise. A time when alcohol can fuel quarrels, causes ruptures in relationships or actions that bring embarrassment or shame.
While I reflect I realise I am very blessed. For some people Christmas can be:
- a painful time that reminds them that they are separated from family and loved ones by distance or animosities, a time of isolation and loneliness;
- a time of heartbreak and struggle when financial hardship is highlighted and gifts and Christmas food is difficult or impossible to provide;
- a time when the loss of loved ones is accentuated, a reminder of loss and grief still so raw;
- a day is just as dismal any other because survival is the focus and there is little room for anything else; or,
- for those who have everything and financial hardship is not an issue it can be a time where connections seem hollow and love seems conditional.
While the spirit of Christmas is generous, loving and joyful it can also be a time when violence increases, alcohol or drug use surges, sadness intensifies, and self-harm escalates. If you are experiencing feelings of sorrow, grief or shame or have concerns that you need help regarding drug or alcohol use please reach out for support. If you know of someone who might be vulnerable at this time please extend to them the spirit of Christmas.
At this time of year charities that extend the hand of loving kindness to those less fortunate are in need of all the help they can get, if you can help them by sending financial blessing for others; then bless you.
If you need counselling support at this time please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org