Ross and I were out on a bike ride on Boxing Day when I spotted some writing in dust on the back window of a car — “I HATE XMAS!”
My first thought was that it had been written by a teenager, then I got to thinking that maybe it was an adult. Someone fed up with the stresses of Christmas.
There is an incredible amount of pressure at this time of the year. Some of this can be good as it builds the excitement of the season. But a lot is from our expectations. For those hosting one of the main meals on the day, there is often fear that there won’t be enough food, or the turkey / ham won’t be cooked properly (or to perceived expectations of others).
Then the house needs to be clean and tidy, the table set right and a hundred other minor details that need to be attended to.
I worked on Christmas Eve, and when I arrived at the carpark and where there are usually two or three cars, that morning it was almost full and I had trouble finding a park. There was an awful moment when I thought that my clock was wrong and I was late, but I later learnt that most were there early to get those last minute items — bread, meat and vegetables and booze. Plus of course the presents to finish off.
Then there are the people who have no place special to go on Christmas Day and no-one to share it with. Im blessed to be able to have family to share my day with. We don’t host the big Christmas anymore — a family disagreement put paid to that a few years ago. But the first year I was amazed at the lack of pressure. We packed a picnic and drove to the beach and had a wonderful day — just the two of us. The next year we invited my son and his family along for our picnic and we did it again this year.
What is so special about it is the post lunch walk along the beach in the shallows —it is so relaxing.
But I think my favourite part of Christmas is that most people wish each other Merry Christmas and are generally nice to one another. And most of them mean it.
So despite the massive amounts of negative news we see and read, there are still a lot of thoughtfulness and caring in the world around us.
So Seasons Greetings to all and may the coming year bring joy.