Greetings to you on Christmas Day 2018. Writing this post is a bit of spur of a moment thing for me. I don’t really know how it’s going to end up. If you have found it, welcome. I wonder how you are doing.
Christmas is an exciting, fun and loving time for a lot of people. For others it can be difficult. Even for people that are lucky enough to have a home and a family around them, the experience doesn’t always live up to the hype and expectations.
I’m someone that used to get stressed about the whole thing. I always wanted everything to be picture perfect; the beautiful Christmas home, the perfect Christmas table, the wonderful meal and the happy games with family and friends. Usually I ended up being super-stressed, disappointed with my performance, vowing to do better next time. That branch that I painted white, hanging baubles to decorate as a centre-piece for the middle of the dinner table. It didn’t look like it did in Good House-Keeping. It kept tipping over and it obscured people’s faces. Maybe I should buy some fancy Christmas dishes? It might make for a better occasion, but what a waste of money, to only use them once a year. Chocolate and candy sticks hanging on the Christmas tree would be nice. How can I keep the dogs from eating them?
These thoughts may sound trivial to you. Its not too long ago they would have me in an emotional downward spiral. And that’s with just a small family gathering. The idea of having a whole group of relatives around outside the immediate family has never been something I could contemplate, much less deliver on.
What is the meaning of Christmas anyway?
I never really got the nativity thing; baby Jesus in a manger, born to a virgin Mary, three kings with gifts following a star. What does that have to do with me? The world today?
It’s the story I was brought up with so I’ve always felt awkward with that feeling of disconnection. There must be something wrong with me. Nor could I dismiss the ‘religion’ thing as ‘outdated mumbo-jumbo’ for people that needed something to hang onto. That seems far too simplistic.
Over the last few years things have started to make a lot more sense. I know that the Winter Solstice (in the Northern Hemisphere) is the time of year when there is the least light. A pivotal moment in nature’s calendar. Darkness can affect my own emotional and mental health. I know that Christmas day is the day when the sun starts getting higher in the sky again, starting the new annual natural cycle. That this day is about celebrating and welcoming the new light.
As Above, So Below
I also now understand that what’s going on outside in my life is a reflection of what is going on inside of me as a person. That the stress I create around me at Christmas is of my own making and I can choose how to act and behave if I pay attention. I now understand that I have to pay attention to my feelings and be honest with myself about them, if I am to achieve self-mastery (a posh term for living a fulfilled and balanced life).
‘My’ Nativity Story
So I finally get the relevance of the ‘baby Jesus’, in my life. For me, and this might make sense to others, the message represents the renewal of myself, as I continue on my journey to be the best that I can be. Being the best that I can be with this life is the way I can help others.
Being born in a manger, I equate to humble beginnings, no need for pomp and ceremony or fancy achievements, whether on Christmas Day or anywhere else in my life.
Three wise kings I equate to knowing that I am honoured and supported, there will be gifts available to keep me safe and well, when I am ready to accept them. And being ready to accept is also happening when we give presents to one another on Christmas Day.
I will now try to work out how to squeeze a large chicken, the vegetarian option and the roast potatoes into my single electric oven, while keeping the dogs out of the chipolatas!
I hope you have a good Christmas, whatever that means to you xxx