Tuesday 21 December 2021

Nobody knew all the Christmas story at the time by Anne Booth

 I know that things are very difficult and uncertain at the moment. I had a mini meltdown last Friday and got very embarrassingly  (and, I hasten to add, and I hope you believe, uncharacteristically) cross and upset when my husband said that dinner was ready just as the very last episode of 'It Takes Two' was starting on BBC2. The fact that I could watch it later on iplayer didn't register, neither did the fact that I was being very rude and my husband had cooked the meal and he is a very good cook - I just felt absolutely desperate that the timing of dinner meant that I was going to miss my TV programme.   I was shocked and embarrassed at my own rudeness and grumpiness and then eventually I had a big cry and apologised. My family were lovely and I realised that I  wasn't very well and that anxiety was getting on top of me.  I was worrying about various family members and reading on Twitter about what is going on in the world, and worrying about decisions made by politicians, and so many sad and bad things AND worrying about little things like writing Christmas cards. I was getting more and more stressed and was relying to a ridiculous extent on having that half hour's TV to escape!

So many people aren't feeling great and want to escape at the moment. So many are struggling , some with physical and or mental illness, some with bereavement,  many financially, and there is so much we cannot control. It doesn't feel all that Christmassy.

But then I remember that the original Christmas can't have felt that certain either. It can't have been very cheerful for Joseph and Mary to have to travel whilst pregnant to Bethlehem, to not find room at the inn, and to have to give birth in a  stable. It must have been so stressful to have to flee as refugees to Egypt to escape the murderous King Herod.  Happily,  as Sam Usher and I tried to show in our book 'Refuge', they did receive kindness and welcome in the end, but that didn't make the difficult bits less difficult. This Christmas there are still refugees looking for safe homes, and, thank goodness, there are still good people and organisations trying to help them, give them refuge, and peace-makers and environmentalists  trying to make the world safer so that people don't have to flee. If we are lucky enough not to be refugees, and not  to have to live with that uncertainty, maybe at Christmas we can support the organisations helping them so that more people can find refuge.

Looking back, after all that stress during the original Christmas story, even if you are not a Christian, the time is now associated with a festival celebrating  happy things : love and kindness and the innocence and joy of new born babies ( I know it is also associated with commercialism, but please bear with me - that's really not what the festival is supposed to be about!)  I really hope that in the future we can  look back over the years on this time, even with all its sadness and stress, and still somehow be able to associate it with some unexpectedly lovely moments of kindness and love.  I hope there are lots of those loving, peaceful, joyful moments waiting for you in the coming month.

Having said that, I am also very up for Escapist films and books!  If you have any to recommend, please leave in the comments!

And I leave you with a song from the first 'Nativity' film (I never really got into the sequels, but I watched this again recently with my daughter and loved it for its warmth and fun.) 

I found this song from Nativity 1 on YouTube, with the lyrics, so hopefully you can have a quiet karaoke moment and a little escapist dance if you are feeling too stressed. I hope we  can all somehow manage to sparkle and shine like the Christmas Star!



Clare Weiner (Mari Howard) said...

Nice, friendly... very 'you', I feel. Having been to private school, but also having come from the family I do, cynicism is all too easy an 'escape' - this is full of alternative ideas of where and how to go elsewhere!

Anne Booth said...

Thank you very much, Clare.

Alan McClure said...

Your description of being overwhelmed by the state of things was all too familiar. Fantastic that it led to hopeful reflections - thanks for sharing, Anne, and I wish you a peaceful and productive new year!