Are Holiday Blues Self Inflicted Pain?
It’s that time of year again when the news is filled with stories of tragedy. So many men, women and children are feeling the holiday blues. I know how they must be feeling because not too many years ago I too went through a time of self inflicted pain.
It may seem odd to refer to the holiday blues as self inflicted pain; yet, it is. How so? Well, think about the very reason we may feel blue. As a society we have put so much pressure on ourselves to celebrate how others have celebrated as tradition for centuries.
For many years I was one of those who chose to celebrate Christmas. In our family it was a time of family gathering and gift giving. There was a time in my childhood when we took part in church activities like Sunday school and the choir. During the holiday season we would put on plays revolving around Jesus whose birthday was suppose to be the reason. We would sing our hearts out in the choir performances and make our parents proud.
Life deals us all pain in one way or another sometimes we refer to it as growing pains. Unlike physical pain, growing pains are more personal growth than physical pain. However, learning the truth about something, anything can hurt our heart; at least it did mine.
There were many times in my adulthood when the realities of life shocked me. I’ve been told that I’m gullible and naïve. Maybe that is why some of my life’s lessons stung so badly. I felt a little foolish when I realized why I had done something for so long without really thinking about it.
Celebrating Christmas was one of those lessons. I didn’t like it, didn’t want to think about it yet the facts were the facts. There was nothing I could say or do to make them not be so. It was painful to realize I had been following a tradition just because everyone else did it. I saw visions of a flock of sheep following the lead doe right off the cliff. No wonder I was feeling the painful holiday blues.
Christmas Fact or Fiction
The Encyclopedia Americana informs us: “The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days begin to lengthen, to celebrate the “rebirth of the sun”. The Roman Saturnalia (a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the renewed power of the sun), also took place at the time, some Christmas customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration.
According to the Bible Jesus’ birth date is not disclosed. If we were to use our ability to reason on what the Scriptures do tell us we would find that during the month of December in Nazareth where Jesus was born it is too cold for the shepherds and their flocks to be out-of-doors.
The book of “Daily Life in the Time of Jesus” states that “The flocks…passed the winter under cover; and from this alone it may be seen that the traditional date for Christmas, in the winter, is unlikely to be right since the Gospel says that the shepherds were in the fields”.
Why celebrate something centered around something not true?
The next point I meditated on was thinking about the actual celebration of His birth. If we threw a party for a loved one, child or adult and the guests all brought gifts to exchange with one another and not our “birthday boy or girl” how would they feel? Pretty disappointed wouldn’t you say? Have you ever thought what Jesus would think about all of us showing up to his party without a gift for him? Hmmm…interesting thought, right?
Now celebrating Christmas seems wrong to me. If the reason for celebrating was not true why was I taking part? The answer made me sick to my stomach, it truly pained my heart and it sure didn’t sit well in my mind either.
My whole life our family celebrated holidays one right after the other. As a young adult raising my own children naturally I followed the traditions of my family I didn’t know any different.
Looking back in retrospect I now realize why I suffered for many years with the holiday blues. The stress of buying gifts for our ever growing family was a financial drain on our limited budget. The fear of disappointing one sister or brother, niece or nephew usually overshadowed the joy of giving the gift.
Shopping was always stressful as the anticipated day quickly arrived way too soon. There was never enough money to get everyone what they asked for on their wish list. Is that really what gift-giving is all about, lists? But, I never gave it a second thought, that’s the way it had always been.
True giving comes from the heart
The many truths I’ve learned as an aging baby-boomer have set me free. Free from the age old traditions tied to having to buy something, give something on a certain day because someone somewhere said it was time to do it.
Instead, I’ve found out how to eliminate the stress, give from my heart, when I can easily slip it into my budget without going into debt. I’ve eliminated the stress from those out of control credit card bills that arrive in January, too.
When we treat others the way we want to be treated, give gifts from our heart because we want to it has so much more meaning. The old adage goes something like this “if it feels right deep down inside…it probably is”. Our conscious is a gift given at birth; but, it must be trained properly to be used to its fullest capacity. That training can sometimes be very painful especially if we have to get rid of baggage from years of tradition.
There are many ways that the holiday blues are self inflicted; however, we can eliminate the stress and pain that causes them by giving from the heart in truth and spirit.
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Carla Gardiner is known as “THE Fiery Grandma” because she found new energy, endurance and youth. Her passion and purpose lies with baby boomer trends, the people she works with daily; aging men, women, moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas who want to feel better, have more energy and have fun like they did when they were twenty-something. Join her for more energy, fun and profits.