I did not know until the last few years that not everyone enjoys Christmas. I’m not referring to those who aren’t Christians. I am thinking of those who find Christmas painful. Because that time is coming, I want to explain a list of emotions that may occur. It is crass to insist that someone in pain “get into the holiday spirit.”
Sadness: Death doesn’t take a holiday. People become ill and die during the Christmas season just as they do the rest of the year. Other sad events happen. It can be hard to separate the season from the sadness. Most of the people I know who are going through this hunker down and endure what for them is anything but a merry time period.
Anger: Arguments happen all year. Sometimes they are more intense during the Christmas season. It may be that someone doesn’t believe there’s a reason for celebration and becomes angry that they are inundated with it. It may be because someone imbibes a little too much Joy Juice followed by an open mouth and insert foot conversation. Some people are angry at Christmas.
Pain: Physical and mental pain are a part of life. I can tell you from personal experience there is a bit of luster rubbed off when enduring intense pain at any point in time. People who feel pain at Christmas may have a hard time entering into the fun.
Negative emotions aren’t the only ones. It’s just as important to understand the good emotions people may feel. This is not telling someone who doesn’t like the Christmas season to “get with the program.” It is the genuine positive emotions some feel. The following are from my personal perspective. Others may differ.
Joy: “I come to give you glad tidings of great joy.” Even if there isn’t a Christmas tree, there are few presents and all the usual trappings are missing, I feel joy. It’s not the things. It’s the Present. When we were a young family there was an occasional lean Christmas…but it didn’t take the joy away.
Love: “For God so loved the world He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.” Christmas means God loves me. He loves me so much He came to earth as a baby. God’s love gives me contact with Him through His Son. I may not have all of my family with me, but I know I am loved.
Peace: “And on earth, peace, goodwill to men.” I would love for the entire world to be at peace. It’s an impossible desire without God. That doesn’t mean I am without peace. God gives me peace that passes understanding. If I stop what I’m doing in my busy life and concentrate, I can feel that peace. Christmas is about the Prince of Peace.
Change: Joy, love and peace are beautiful gifts. They also require something from the recipient. When we are filled with these emotions we need to act on them. First and foremost by understanding and respecting those who find Christmas a difficult time of year. Ask them how you can help them.
It also means that we step off the party/gift/decorating bandwagon for a bit and reflect on what Christmas means to our faith. Jesus didn’t come so we could have a party and hand out presents. He came lowly; born in a manger. He came poor so we could be made rich. Christmas is about our faith.