… to be jolly? That’s the way the song goes. In reality, lots of people are anything but jolly before, during or after Christmas. There are numerous reasons:
- Christmas preparation has many moving parts. Getting everything done creates tension.
- Christmas presents can be quite costly. Charging purchases is easy. Then the bill arrives.
- Christmas gatherings can be stressful. Family members don’t always play well together.
- Christmas interrupts the routine. People who normally go to school or to work are likely to be home, at the same time, for several days. That can be wonderful. Or not.
- Christmas reminds us of our childhood. If it was happy, memories are sweet. If it wasn’t, memories may likely be painful.
- Christmas for folks who are single, widowed or divorced is often spent alone. Being jolly is generally a team sport.
- Christmas is hard for families who have experienced the loss of a loved one. Grief is neither quickly nor easily conquered.
- Christmas exacerbates concern for the future, especially for those facing illness, surgery or other health issues, emotional turmoil or financial challenges.
- Christmas is tough for families living with abuse, addiction or missing family members.
- Christmas for most of us means food, usually lots of it. Girth expansion often results.
- Christmas brings to mind citizens of third world countries who don’t have that food problem. Why? Because they have no food. We seem not to know what to do about that.
- Christmas creates chaos. Lots of decisions need to be made. The kitchen is a wreck after the meal. The family room is a cluttered mess after presents have been opened.
Having said all that, I hasten to add that Christmas is a wonderful time of the year! While many reasons not to be jolly are listed above, there are others that produce the pure joy of the season.
Next week’s article will be: “Reasons to be Joyful at Christmas!” If you have some to suggest, send them to me before next Monday, December 21, and I’ll try to work them in. Be concise, please.
In the meantime, in these last days of Advent remember these words of the hymn writer, whether you’re experiencing jolly times or not:
“The advent of our King, our prayers must now employ,
And we must hymns of welcome sing, in strains of holy joy.”
“All glory to the Son, Who comes to set us free,
With Father, Spirit, ever one, through all eternity!”
A Blessed Advent to you and yours!