Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Pressures of Christmas

SEX is said to be one thing that speaks volumes of a couple’s relationship. Good sex is generally had in a good, stable, loving relationship—poor sex, on the other hand, merely compounds what’s already wrong. Bad goes to worse. The same can be said for Christmas. It seems to highlight obvious family dysfunctions. It brings high highs or low lows and never the twain shall meet!

We’ve all got it, let’s face it. Family dysfunction, that is. There’s not a family on the face of the globe that can say they’re perfectly well-adjusted and never have conflict.

Christmas brings with it so many extra, loaded pressures… presents to buy, wrap and display, cards to send, functions to host or attend, people to please (including people we don’t like—some even in the family!), add to this a blowing of diets and the consumption of alcohol etc, and not to mention the hype of (a Christ-less) Christmas.

No wonder people are spent, worried, stressed and annoyed by it all at times. No wonder it exhausts us!

Yet, this is a sombre subject. Surely no one wants to truly admit how awful life is? But for some, indeed many, Christmas can reinforce what is actually wrong with life and their relationships.

Recently one of the free-to-air channels on television screened a movie called, Christmas with the Kranks (2004), and it featured a couple who decide to skip Christmas. It’s actually quite a weak movie, though the cast is star-studded. But, it gives voice to the vast amount of people who are exhausted (and daunted) by the pomp-and-ceremony of it all.

But, aren’t we missing something? What about the people in the world who know a different sort of pressure—not a pressure of excess, but a pressure of lack; a pressure of missing out. And then there are the people who suffer tragedy during the Christmas season. Death doesn’t stop for Christmas. There are those too who are in recovery mode. It won’t be a special Christmas for them.

It pays for us to consider the other “silent” side of Christmas. This is the side we never get to hear about, but is there anyway.

For just a moment, we could pay a moment’s silence or do something else solemn to remember those who are not so joyful, at peace or abundantly materially blessed. Better still, we could do something to offer them comfort, not simply at Christmas time, but all through the year.

After all, Christ—our example, was all for the poor, down-trodden, maimed, hungry and thirsty. Have we perhaps skewed, just slightly, the true message and meaning of Christmas?

© 2009 S. J. Wickham.

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