What Christmas ‘ought’ to be?

Everyone has an idea of what Christmas ‘ought’ to be. It comes straight out of gooey Hollywood films, snowy Christmas cards with red stockings hanging near a roaring fire and candle-lit trees, or sugary Christmas songs that make us feel all warm inside. And indeed, many of us will experience those blissfully happy times. But the truth is, there are some years when we’ll find Christmas a very difficult time of year.

Perhaps you are part of a family that don’t get on … your family live away … you’re estranged from them … individuals without families … a bereavement near Christmas … Christmas alone … and the pressure from the TV of what you ‘ought’ to be enjoying at Christmas only brings added pressure. We will all have problems at some time – that’s life – but they always seem worse at Christmas, don’t they?

I can understand that.

I remember shopping in the Metro Centre some years ago. I was laden with parcels as not only did I have five grandchildren to buy for but they had all inconveniently decided to have birthdays a few days before or after the great event. (Or perhaps that was their parents fault, not theirs), I sank down exhausted on a recently vacated seat and groaned inwardly at the relief of easing my feet out of my shoes. As I sat listening to Jingle Bells blasting out down the mall I gazed around at the Christmas lights, the baubles,, and the gaudy decorations and the dozens of fairy lights across the ceiling and my eye fell on a few lights that were dim or had gone out. Lights that would not shine that Christmas.

With a shock, I realised that I was so focussed on gaudy baubles, shopping, trees, money (did I have enough) and Santa that I had almost missed the whole reason behind the celebration of Christmas. For me, that’s the birthday of Jesus. My eyes drifted back to the lights that shone. That’s the heart of Christmas, isn’t it? Keeping your eyes on the lights that shine; lights that make Christmas, if not Christmas card enjoyable, then bright for you because you’re doing things that you enjoy.