This Christmas season is different, no matter how you slice it.
We want to enjoy the season and celebrate the birth of our Savior and all of the joy that comes along with Jesus’s birth. But this year has been such an anomaly — and hard on all of us — that even this Christmas season brings no reprieve from the heaviness that we’re all enduring.
I’ve had long conversations with myself about the heaviness in my heart and repeatedly run through my mental checklist to see how I’m doing. As an extrovert who relies on “normal” daily interaction with other extroverts, the mental checkup is a good thing to have.
And like many friends we’ve talked to, life was at least tolerable until we started approaching November and heading into the Thanksgiving holiday. The numbers started a fairly steep increase and the vaccine won’t be widely available until after a long, tough winter.
The good news is that I’ve been working hard to keep my mental health in check. As is the case with most of us, our family sees the effects of the continual pressure. Although I’m fine, they most certainly notice the effects this prolonged period of pressure far more than the rest of the world.
The questions remain as to how those of us of faith are to supposed to continue keeping our health in check, especially during the Christmas season?
There are no trite answers that work, and that’s not my intent here. But trite or not, the answers absolutely involve keeping a clear Christian perspective, difficult though it may be.
For example, a one-to-two year pandemic (with an election year, racial reckoning, and insert everything else that has occurred) is short in the grand scheme of things. And it’s true that this too will pass. Point being is that even though it feels like this will last forever, we can take heart in knowing that it won’t.
The same goes for our personal woes. While I don’t want to make light of what we’re all going through, the Christmas season is the perfect time for us to focus on the needs of others, rather than ourselves.
When we focus on meeting those needs of others, our personal plight may pale in comparison. The Christmas season seems like the perfect time of year to do just that.
Christopher Dixon is chief operating officer of eLectio Publishing (electiopublishing.com) and pastor of West Finley Baptist Church near Fordland, Mo. He is also a Word&Way trustee.