Anyone for a “good enough” Christmas?
‘Did you have a good Christmas?’ ‘Yes, it was fantastic, thanks. Best one ever.’
‘You?’ ‘It was amazing, wonderful!’
Except the truth is, this time round I started dreading Christmas earlier than ever. From at least mid-November, I worried about how I’d spend the day that everyone else seemed to say was their favourite day of the year.
TV programming and advertising all showed me how the perfect family would spend their perfect day – happily eating perfect Christmas dinner and happily being happy together. Yes, it should be perfect!
‘Don’t be stupid,’ I told myself. ‘They’re just selling food and wanting you to watch their TV programmes. 25th December is just another day, a Sunday dinner.’ Except that I didn’t convince myself.
When friends and acquaintances talk about their Christmas plans, it seems that everyone else is looking forward to a wonderful day. So I keep my feelings to myself; I don’t want to spoil anyone’s happy anticipation of the good times ahead. I feel ashamed that I don’t have a family to spend the day with. I do my Christmas version of ‘Fine thanks’.
Thank God, Christmas is now over for another year. Thank God, good friends invited me to spend the season with them and we had a good time together.
But I’m sure I’m not the only person who wasn’t looking forward to, or didn’t have, a perfect Christmas. Worries about money and work, relationships and health can intensify at this season. Shock horror! Not all families are perfect. Not everyone has a family.
So I’d love it if I (we?) could start aiming for a Good Enough Christmas. Can we take the pressure off ourselves and share a Good Enough meal and Good Enough presents? Let’s not believe the lie that everyone else is having a perfect time. And if we believe we are the family of God, let’s look out for one another, maybe even share hospitality. Especially on Jesus’ birthday.