It’s the Holidays! We’re supposed to be happy and celebrating! Right?
But for so many people, this is a truly difficult time of year.
‘Tis the season… for panic, the feeling of inadequacies, going into debt, fighting with relatives, and pure exhaustion.
For so many, ‘tis the season… for guilt, shame, and loneliness.
‘Tis the season… for theft, because these people also have kids at home wanting a nice Christmas. For these people, this season only brings utter desperation.
Ironically the goals and reasons for this season are love, peace, forgiveness and being with loved ones. It’s notsupposed to be a measurement of your love, based on your financial stability.
Today, I watched a video from a mother of 4 boys. She was hysterically crying in joy, praising Jesus because she just received a call from someone who had a bag of Christmas presents for each of her children. She was rejoicing because she couldn’t afford anything, and through another’s generosity, her children would have something to open on Christmas morning. As I watched her raw emotions, true gratitude, and overwhelming relief, I understood, and it pained me.
This woman was overcome with such joy and all that I could think of was how unfair this season is. The amount of this woman’s elation was in direct correlation to her level of stress. You could feel it. You could see her finally able to breathe.
The commercial nature of this holiday brings out the opposite of what it’s meant to be. Our worthiness is measured according to the value of the presents, instead of the openness of our hearts.
As a single mom, there was so much that I was not able to do for my son, especially around the holidays. I always tried to make it special for him, but inside I was harboring the anxiety, dread, and guilt of the Season. Most years, I sighed a breath of relief just getting through Thanksgiving and the cost of having such a good, but large meal.
But the reprieve was always brief because my son’s birthday is just 10-days before Christmas, adding another level of economic stress… a birthday… on top of Christmas. Some years, it was a matter of just getting through it, without crying every day.
I remember the dread, panic, and the emotion of feeling like a complete failure as a parent, all because of no money at Christmas. He’s 28 now and the emotions are only slightly less dreadful because now there is a grandchild, nieces, nephews, holiday parties, and friends. The people change and grow, but the expectations of the season do not. The demands of society, and the hopes and dreams of a magical season inevitably just leave us stressed, miserable and lashing-out at the ones we’re trying to excite and inspire.
During this holiday season, I urge you to stop. Just stop. Put down your credit card and pick up the phone — call someone you miss and tell them they are loved. Stop planning events and take a moment to look into your children’s eyes — they won’t ever be this age again. Stop looking for merchandise and start building memories — years from now they won’t remember what you got them anyway, but they’ll always remember how they felt during this time.
Use these Holy Days to be whole, and to make someone else also feel whole. That is what this season is about, not the holes it inflicts: in your pocket-book, relationships and ultimately, your heart.