Happy Christmas or Joyeux Hoel?
Do you feel happy? When people say Happy Christmas, do you feel a warm cosy glow inside? Not that you are a humbug or a scrooge, but for many people who struggle with their emotional and mental health, Christmas can be a difficult time. If your mood is low, it can be hard to raise it. If you are lonely, it can be difficult to invite yourself for Christmas dinner.
Do you feel merry - laughy, giggly? Maybe the warm glow will only come if you are 'merry' for other reasons - the sherry or other preferred tipple which masks the pain you would otherwise feel. Boxing day is a time when the hospital sees many people who have taken overdoses - coming down after the alcohol fuelled frenzy of Christmas Day.
If for you the season means spending time with relatives you dislike and who hate you and ridicule you, then you will hardly be welcoming the season with open arms. In Scotland where I live, we have another word that sounds the same - greetin' - which means crying and bawling at something. How does the season affect you?
This is the french for 'Happy Christmas' but it means 'joyous birth'. If we feel neither happy nor merry, then the biblical concept of 'joy at all times' is something else we can strive to attain. Not a silly smile, but a desire and a choice and a longing to see the good in all things and the hand of God within this. And that Hand is no more clearly seen than in the birth of His Son.
One set of programmes I have really enjoyed watching over ast Christmases is the nativity drama on the BBC that was written by East Enders screen writer, Tony Jordan, and had a major impact on him. It is a raw and engaging look at the inner emotional world of the characters we can become all too familar with.
A very joyeux noel from all of us at Mind and Soul!