This festive time is one of the most confronting times of the year, but instead of running from it, I would encourage you to let Christmas challenge you.
Christmas is here again. This year our kiddo is old enough to really start enjoying things so everything for us has had a little extra layer of magic. Christmas lights are more amazing, presents are more mysterious, and time off has never been more valuable.
There sure is a lot to like about Christmas even if you don’t have young kids. There’s a feeling or an expectation of joy in the year, a buzz about the city, a refocusing of effort and energy that comes as people enter a reflective state whilst making merry at parties with friends, work colleagues and family.
But there’s also a lot of pressure which comes with Christmas. It’s almost as if the time of year mandates that you be of a certain level of joy. And if you’re just not there, it can be a really difficult time.
And the stats confirm this. If you think Valentine’s Day is bad for relationships, then you ain’t seen nothing yet as December 11 at two weeks out from Christmas is the most statistically common date to break up. One police department in Australia reported an increase in domestic violence related calls by 26.1%. Alcohol Monitoring Systems recorded a 33% increase in drinking rates between Thanksgiving and New Years in the USA.
In other words, the joy and magic of Christmas is a pressure cooker for relationships and mental wellbeing.
Because Christmas challenges you with the best and worst of yourself. As happy or as unhappy you are about the state of your life all year, Christmas is the time the truth comes out. We find out exactly how truly happy you are being single, or single again – how happy you are with your relationship with your wife, your kids – whether or not you feel like you have any real friends – and how you feel about how far along you are with your goals and dreams.
Christmas is the time we are reminded of who we truly want to be, and the difference between who and where we are now, and who and where we want to be, largely determines a lot of the joy or pressure we experience this time of the year.
Characters like Scrooge, the Grinch, and all the rom coms resonate so widely this time of year because they’re extreme archetypes of disappointment and second chances. They are eternally replayed because they reach into this part of ourselves. “Did Christmas change, or just me?” indeed.
And so I would like to submit to you that Christmas challenges you to be who you are born to really be. It reminds you of the dreams you had as a child and also as an adult, and reminds you in the sharpest ways possible of how you would like your life to be.
And I would encourage you to let it. Let Christmas challenge you this year.
I know it’s confronting. I know it’s difficult. I know there are things in my life I’d like to do better and be better at. And it can be really frustrating when you’re not quite there yet.
But if it weren’t for the pointed reminder of who we are really meant to be, would we ever become that person?
We spend so much of the year running or distracting ourselves from the things that really matter. Family, friends, fulfilling our calling, seeing our dreams fulfilled. Let Christmas challenge you to make the effort. To put those things back in first place.
At Christmas time, we have been given the great gift of a Saviour. In that nativity scene, we see demonstrated in full that the world was not as it should be, and we were given a gift to allow for the restoration of our dreams, our hearts, and indeed our very souls.
Allow that gift to permeate every part of your life. Restoration for your family is possible. Seeing that dream come back to life is still possible, if even it occurs in a slightly different form. Healing of your broken heart is possible. The chance to start again is possible.
Merry Christmas to you and yours this year. I pray you let Christmas challenge you and change you to become the best version of yourself, and to remember the dreams of your heart that are still very possible to see fulfilled.