Hope and Suffering at Christmas

This time of year brings forth great hope and plenty of suffering. How can those who suffer get through this time more easily?

From the religious tradition, Christmas represents the birth of hope. The possibility of salvation, through the person of the Christ child, appeals to the deepest yearning of the human soul, at least within the broad reach of those who identify themselves with Christianity.

The suffering of the season has little to do with Christmas’s spiritual meaning. December discomfort arises out of feelings of disconnection. People feel lonely or out of touch with the way they are “supposed” to feel in this nominally cheerful season. Commercial obligation to buy stuff and social obligation to act happy no matter how you feel can be a heavy burden.

Let’s face it. Christmas season brings a lot of pressure to behave and feel a certain way. If that works in your life, great. If not, it’s not your fault. And don’t forget that you’ve got a lot of company.

It’s OK to feel sad when you’re sad. Honor that legitimate emotion, and it will pass. Find something or someone you genuinely can connect with, even if it’s a movie or some corner of Nature. Put your attention on that and enjoy.

In a few days the holiday fuss will be over. January brings the chance to start anew. Why not think now about what you’d like to create and get a head start?