You are not a loan
For many Christmas is the best time of the year – the parties, the presents, the family get togethers. Shopping for others, shopping for ourselves, a sneaky mince pie and a quick drink. For a lot of people it is, “the most wonderful time of the year.”
But not for everyone –
For some it’s a struggle just to keep going. They can’t afford to pay what they owe and the pressure to buy more stuff is so great things can get, literally, depressing. Wherever we turn there is a constant torrent of adverts and reminders of what to give, and if we don’t know what to give there are always gift cards (“the best way to say ‘I have to buy you a gift but have no imagination'”, as I read the other day). Christmas is so much about ‘stuff’ – What to give, what to get, what to eat, what to buy, what to wear – constant reminders that if you can’t spend thousands of dollars on presents, clothes and food you ‘aren’t good enough’ and have failed in the eyes of society. We may know that’s crap but not everyone does and to many who cannot even afford food on a ‘normal’ day Christmas is a terrible time.
For others who have lost a loved one, or who don’t know where their loved ones are, Christmas can be the loneliest time of the year. With the barrage of ‘family’ images that surround us at this time there are many who are reminded that they don’t have any. There are many who will have empty seats around the Christmas table.
Yet others will find that Christmas is a time to be with those who are suffering – in homes and hospitals, in aged care facilities and palliative care units there are many who will try to celebrate Christmas by sitting at the bedside of a loved one. Some have the hope of healing, for others it is another day of waiting and watching.
Others will have to spend the holiday hiding behind a false face of happiness. Smiling as those who abuse them (physically, emotionally or spiritually) show one face to the world and hide the ‘real’ them and wait for their next chance to show how ‘powerful’ they are. Or others who show the perfect household to the family as their relationship crumbles around them; waiting for the in-laws to leave and the fighting to re-start.
Not everyone will have a Happy Christmas. The pressure to celebrate the commercial idea of Christmas is so constant and so great that it seems that if we don’t have that ‘Woman’s weekly’ idea of an ideal Christmas we are freaks, outcast, social failures.
It is such a change from that first Christmas Day – a day when the freaks, outcast and social failures were at the very centre of things. A homeless family; an unwed mother; the outcast shepherds welcomed to the celebrations; pagan travellers; God is with us; the birth of love.
As you celebrate this Christmas give a thought to those who don’t.
God bless you all this Christmas time, whatever your situation.