Christmas – the season of goodwill, celebration of God’s amazing free–gift of himself in his son Jesus Christ. Born as a baby, his arrival was the best news the world will ever hear – but it so often becomes the most stressful time of the year.
If marriages are under pressure, the cracks are often seen during the holiday period when expectations of happy families are so high; some divorce lawyers are at their busiest in January. Choosing to be patient, kind and forgiving is the best Christmas present any spouse can give to the other.
The root cause is often the pressure of spending too much money on Christmas – gifts, food and drinks, parties and nights out. January is often a miserable month as people struggle to pay for overspending at Christmas.
Think practical, think realistic
We want to encourage churches to set out few basic ideas – which are just good common sense, but can make all the difference. Some suggestions include:
• Instead of asking – ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ – work out how much you can afford to spend and then ask ‘What’s the best possible Christmas we can have on our budget?’
• Recognise that our children may put us under pressure for the next new thing – but the best gift we can give them is our time, attention, love and security.
• Work out how much you really want to eat and drink, and don’t buy more than you need that will end up thrown away.
• Stop giving unnecessary presents – what about a family gift rather than something for each person?
• Arts and crafts and baking are back in fashion, and what could be nicer than someone spending their time and energy on making a gift for you?
Sharing the Season
At Christmas almost everybody wants to sing carols – invite your friends and family to your church carol services, Christingle services, Sunday School plays and any other Christmas events your church wants to run. Remember how lonely Christmas can be for people on their own, or away from home, and look out for people who would welcome an invitation to join in with your celebration.
Ask for help
If you are worried about money don’t let the pressure get too great – speak in confidence to your rector, or contact an organisation which specialises in helping people cope with their debts – Christians Against Poverty is just one example (capuk.org).
Please remember, all the good things of Christmas can magnify the problems people can face, so don’t be afraid to seek or offer help where it is needed.
The Collect of the First Sunday of Advent
Give us grace to cast away the works of darkness
and to put on the armour of light
now in the time of this mortal life
in which your Son Jesus Christ came to us in great humility;
that on the last day
when he shall come again in his glorious majesty
to judge the living and the dead,
we may rise to the life immortal;
through him who is alive …read more
Read more here:: http://ireland.anglican.org/index.php?do=news&newsid=4820