Is it Good News of a great joy that will come to all people, as the angel said?
I hope you had a joyous Christmas. It should be the season of joy for Christians of all people. I have written about reasons to celebrate this season, whatever your religion or lack of one. I have also written about happiness and why Christians should be happier than anyone, at least most of the time. So why do some Christians find Christmas difficult?
Six things that can take away your joy.
- You can get too busy and feel so much pressure like anyone else, but for Christians it’s worse because we’ve got to fit all that church activity in on top of family, work, parties and all the rest of it.
- You can feel guilty when you are challenged by seasonal appeals from charities. You want to help them all but you can’t.
- You are aware of many people who find this a difficult time, because of family tensions, money problems, sad memories. Can you avoid being insensitive, without becoming to be gloomy?
- You feel frustrated at the secularisation and commercialisation of Christmas. Was there once a time when it wasn’t like this? You don’t know how to relate to people for whom this is the time to spend lots, eat lots and get drunk often.
- You feel guilty for joining in too much with the above and being too much like everyone else.
- Even in church, you’ve heard all the readings and carols so often it’s hard to feel the excitement you think you should.
What can you do to get some joy?
If any or all of these apply to you, remember:
- You are human. He knows our frame. He knows we are but dust. (Psalm 103 v 14). Remember that other people are human too.
- It’s OK to fit in sometimes. Rejoice with those who rejoice and mourn with those who mourn.
- The birth of Jesus is such a great event that no celebration of it can be wrong or too much, even the secular elements.
- If it seemed stale, pray for just some small part of it, a line from a carol, a bit of a sermon, a verse from the Bible to come alive for you. Then hold onto it.
What joy have I found this Christmas, so far?
Like a lot of people, I have found the dark, dull, damp days depressing. Things got a bit on top of me a week or two ago. Then I read the Christmas story in the version of the Bible we use for Open the Book. Something I have written about previously. It’s the Lion Storyteller Bible. The Christmas story is told in a “Good News – Bad News” format. I noticed that the angels always gave good news, but the bad news came from people. I saw how easy it is to see things from one perspective. I prayed for God to show me his perspective on a few things. Even though I haven’t yet got tidy answers, I feel joyful. I know there IS another way of looking at things.
So stop beating yourself up. God loves you!