There’s a dangerous myth doing the rounds about Christmas. And it’s not about the birth of Jesus Christ.
No, the really dangerous Christmas myth is that if you get all the right presents, all the right food and drink, all the traditional decorations and watch all the right TV programmes, you’re going to be wonderfully happy.
It’s a myth because it’s simply not true. More stuff doesn’t make you happy – certainly not for long. That new iPhone may look so shiny as the wrapping paper comes off, but it’s not going to heal your broken heart, or even your dodgy hip. And all that wonderful food may taste good as you eat it, but once the washing-up’s done all that’s left is a few more pounds you’re going to have to lose at the gym or by that diet you hate.
And it’s a dangerous myth because it can do real damage to ourselves and our families. All that Christmas stuff costs money. If you can’t really afford it, buying it might well just be stressing your budget – and your partner. We’ve known for some time that there are more suicides just after Christmas than at any other time of year. But this year we’ve heard there’s also been a surge in domestic conflict in the run-up to Christmas. That’s where the myth gets really dangerous. Is getting that VTech Kidizoom Smartwatch, or that Stomp and Chomp Grimlock Transformer, really worth a blazing family row, or worse?
Real joy is found in relationships, in loving and being loved. Gifts are great if they are a sign of love. But if they’re just a reflection of how needy and greedy we are they tarnish very quickly. The best way to love your family might be to buy less rather than more.
The true story that brought Christmas into being was the discovery that God himself loves us more than we could possibly have imagined. That’s a love that changes us from the inside out. Come along to our Christmas events and discover the real Christmas, the one that lasts.
This article first appeared in Issue 5 of The Rufford Brick, December 2014