As we storm down on Christmas, I am given to reflect on this most festive time of the year.
It is a time of year when people from far and near gather with loved ones, irrespective of their religious beliefs around Christmas itself. (Don’t worry, I’m not going to dive into religion this time.)
It is also the time of year when most people have seemingly endless money for seemingly endless parties and celebrations, gifts, travels and other recreational activities.
Suddenly, at this time of the year, people start inviting other people over. Conversations happen. People reflect on the past year. They appreciate what is around them and the joy that it brings.
Well, most do.
There are also those of us that go “WTF?!” when we suddenly get invites from people who have never shown any interest in us during the year. It is often pity-invites, along the lines of:
“What are you doing for Christmas?”
“You MUST come for lunch! You can’t be alone on Christmas!”
Well, I’ve been alone the rest of the year too, so why MUST I now not be alone? Especially since an invite usually means that we are working toward being part of a social circle, and after Christmas I will just be discarded again outside of their social circle. What’s the point of the effort?
Christmas is a very special time for humanity across the Christian world, and that is good. Just don’t expect everybody to be overjoyed because you are. We all face various challenges in our humanity.
Those who were lucky enough to receive a bonus, will have less money in January. It always happens. We know it happens. But we are so swept up in this spend-trend that we just don’t care. It’s next year’s problem. We’re being festive now.
Those who didn’t receive a bonus is probably trying to make ends meet, as we do every single other month of the year, while also trying to take part in being festive, which costs money. In January, we will be desperate due to the shortfall.
Those who are unemployed will look in the eyes of our loved ones and see the cheer and the shared festivity, knowing the indignity of being unable to contribute. We may over-compensate by doing everything possible to contribute in some small way, ending up the servants of everybody else.
There are also those of us who choose not to take part. We’d rather stay alone at home in bed with a book, a big bag of crisps, some high-sugar cold-drink and let the world continue with its madness. That’s also ok. It doesn’t mean we’re suicidal; it just means that we don’t want to be part of something that we think should be the norm instead of the exception.
Then there will be those of us who will be suicidal this Christmas, like every year. It may be that our genetic make-up pre-determines us to be unhappy when it’s hot. It doesn’t really matter what the reason is (for now), what does matter is that we seek help. There are many resources for those dealing with life-threatening anxiety and depression this Christmas. What we make of it, is up to us.
For those of us blessed enough not to have these issues: be responsive. Realise that it’s not just about our little bubble of happiness.
I’m not saying the Christmas cheer is wrong. If you’re having fun with your family, do it, just be responsible. Understand that those others you try to involve in your circle of cheer may not be on the same level you are. Realise that that is ok.
If you decide to invite a social reject, like me, into your circle, you should commit to it. Don’t just invite me for Christmas. Invite me to your weekend braai’s throughout the year. I can deal with not being invited. It’s more difficult to deal with being invited once and not being invited again (until next year Christmas).
If I reject your Christmas invitation, invite me again sometime next year, if you’re really interested in who I am. Maybe I’m the potato crisps type of person who just don’t like to socialize around Christmas.
If you have a friend who may be suicidal, help them to get help. You are not qualified to deal with their issues. Forcing them to enjoy a day of your cheer will most likely push them over the edge and make them kill themselves, because they will realise how false it all is and how much they don’t fit into the picture.
What am I doing for Christmas? Well, I may decide to watch animation movies (I love them!) alone in my new house (that I’m renting). I may also decide to go to my friend Carol, who has invited me for Christmas lunch, for no other reason than that she invites me for lunch randomly throughout every year, because she actually thinks I’m a nice person to hang out with (I think). Otherwise, I may join my Cradock family for the day, and celebrate one of the most influential people I have had the privilege to know: my foster-father, whose birthday was on Christmas, and who celebrated the splendorous joy of the day after receiving a quite common pair of clothes with several glasses of absolutely dreadful wine.
I have choices, and I intend to exercise them according to how I feel at the time. Many people do not have that luxury.
For you who do, like me, I wish a very happy and blessed Christmas with your family and loved ones. I hope that the past year has been successful, however you wish to define success. I hope that 2017 holds all the glory and power that God the Creator can bestow on it at this time.