I have a confession. I’ve never cooked a traditional Christmas dinner. To be very open ~ I’ve never had the energy for it. I was either too ill, too ill to eat it, too busy taking care of someone very ill or working to take care of very sad people. Therefore, I had the odd good fortune of never worrying about whether the turkey would be cooked or not. Silver linings, eh?

I want to give you permission to confess. To admit to yourself what is, wise to do, wise to try and wise to leave well alone! Sometimes that is all we need. Just someone else to tell us that we have done our best and that is more than good enough.

            Perhaps the best piece of Christmas advice came from the late great Denise Robertson. She said that after her husband had died, she was left alone with a young son. For them, Christmas was desperately sad. Living near the coast allowed her to sit on a bench and think. She said that she realised that Christmas was essentially two days to endure and then she started to make a list of about ten things she would do to make their lives better. For me, this is the ultimate wisdom, where great grief is acknowledged and then some effort taken to make it a bit less bad. Sometimes that action can be miniscule, but it is the very intention that matters. She explained that she only managed a couple of things on her list which was more than good enough: it was heroic.

            Let’s not wait until we are grief-stricken to harness her greatness and glory. Let’s look at our lives with hope and action to make things just a little bit better all the time. Endurance can deliver lessons and lessons can deliver blessings. We are almost always more blessed than we realise. From that viewpoint, we regain some power and can offer that care to someone else. Giving our time and care is one of the most effective antidotes to sadness.

            Our confessions need not be about our failings, mishaps or misdemeanors. They can be a liberation for our souls and in turn, liberate another from the bondage of perfectionism, peer pressure or debt-inducing consumption. Maybe we just need permission to cope with Christmas as well as we can, with the resources we have available to us at that time. With that hope, we might just remember that Christ is for life, not just for Christmas.

🌻 🌻 🌻

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