A great article by Eternity newspaper on the many different struggles people face at Christmas and how we can respond…
I don’t know about you, but I’m honestly not really looking forward to Christmas Day. Call me ‘Negative Nancy’ – that’s ok, I can handle it.
It seems like everyone around me is eagerly awaiting December 25th, but I just want to hide under a blanket until the day is over.
I had a sneaking suspicion that I wasn’t the only one feeling a bit anxious about Christmas Day, so I asked around, and it turns out I’m not alone in the struggle. You’re not alone either.
As a Christian, I know that Christmas is a celebration of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and I feel like I should rejoice because of that alone. But I can’t escape the fact that for many of us, our issues and hurts are so real and raw that the Christmas season is tainted with pain and grief.
David Ould is an Anglican Minister at Glenquarie Anglican Church, and works with Break the Cycle, an organisation dedicated to serving those experiencing financial hardship.
Christmas is a particularly difficult time for those experiencing financial hardship. There is a real desire to provide a meaningful and enjoyable celebration for loved ones, especially children, which is compounded by seeing extravagant consumption and gift-giving all around. People feel under immense pressure to provide at the same level and suffer greatly from guilt if they can’t.
We also see clients who have no experience in planning their budgets get into a real mess in the New Year having spent all their money on Christmas. Often Christmas purchases are funded using payday lending or consumer leasing arrangements which lock people into longer-term financial hardship.
What can we do to help?
Christians need to know that many who are in financial hardship will make poor financial decisions around the Christmas period not through simple irresponsibility but through a genuine desire to do the very best for those they love but without any of the basic financial education and other wisdom-giving life experiences that many of us have the privilege of having. We need to be quick not to rush to judgement.
We ought also to not be afraid of graciously supporting people at this time, despite our own embarrassment or worry about embarrassing them. Christmas is a time when we see God’s raw grace in the giving of His Son; what better way to communicate that then by acting generously ourselves?
feature image: from Eternity