Article: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Newry Cathedral News

Many people dread the Christmas festivities because of all there is to do or all they have to buy. It is a time of excess spending, eating and socialising. It is so easy to get caught up in the rush, do we really have to spend that much this year or do we really have to be in that many places? Am I right in thinking that for many of us Christmas has become downright stressful?
Admit it. What songwriters call ‘the most wonderful time of the year’ can also be ‘the most difficult time of the year’. Tensions can run high in the home and the true meaning of Christmas can get lost in the commercial side of things.

There is still over a week to go, so take time out to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. Spend some time relaxing and reflecting on Jesus’ statements of peace, like the following – ‘Peace, I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid’. (John 14:27).

If you are a parent, remember that you set the tone in your home and can make it a not-so-blessed time of year. I know it can be difficult when you are searching for that toy on the Santa list or are wrecking your brain trying to figure out what to buy a loved one. Here is some advice,

Rely on God for your emotional support

With so much to do to prepare for the holidays, it is natural for us to rely on people around us to notice when we are overwhelmed and offer a helping hand, or just lend some encouragement and support. The reality is that everyone else around us is as busy as we are. God has the best listening ear.

Scripture says God understands our thoughts while they are still far away (Psalm 139:2); He is a refuge for us when we need to pour out our hearts to Him (Psalm 62:8); and there is nowhere we can go—physically or emotionally—where He is not right there with us (Psalm 139:7-12).

God knows and understands what you are feeling. Go to Him in prayer throughout the day. Talk to Him about how you feel. Rely on Him for what you need. And be refreshed knowing He hears, He cares and He understands.

Refresh yourself in God’s Word.

At this busy time, spend at least some time with God each day. Scripture can be a spiritual source of energy to get us through the day but so can a visit to the Cathedral to pray or ponder on the lovely stained-glass windows or see the beautiful crib placed on the altar. Walking into the church from the throngs of Christmas shoppers may be just what you need to refocus your priorities and give you a new sense of purpose.

Time spent in prayer and contemplation will be like getting a breath of fresh air from the Living God. ‘Our Wonderous Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace’. Isaiah 9:6. It will help you get through
the next week with the right frame of mind. ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy’. Luke, 2:10

Then it will be the most wonderful time of the year!