Christmas preparations are not nearly so frenetic as in English-speaking countries, but there are plenty of things to do. I especially want it to be a special time for my family to create traditions, to reveal the real meaning and joy of Christmas. Our churches organise Christmas plays and our country church has quite a reputation for its plays and atmosphere. We usually do 2 sessions and can get up to 250 people attending.
Unfortuately, the Christmas play is an end in itself, and in the 7 years we have been in this church, I've never heard our parishioners speak of it as an occasion to do serious outreach and follow up. We've never had new people come to the church as a result of what they experienced in the Christmas play.
But Christmas is an ambivalent time for me and I have reasonably regularly become ill over this time - usually after the Christmas plays. I think it's a psychological reaction to Christmas not really being what I would like it to be, notably spent with my Australian family. Thank God, they have been able to come over every few years to share with us and especially to have the joy of seeing their grandchildren. I have rarely been to Oz for Christmas because it's just not possible to get away.
So I feel alone and not very motivated even to organise things to have more people around. When you are in leadership, people expect you to be the motor, and don't consider that you might like NOT to have something to prepare yet again. People around here don't invite easily outside of their own family. There isn't that same ability for everyone to muck in and have a good time together.
I'm in bed with the flu again, trying to convince my psyche that it is possible to stop the self-pity and the discouraged attitude. Why do I want Christmas to be special ? What is the most important thing ? What is it I really want, but can't have ? Allez, a little rest, catch up with my daily Bible readings, read a good novel, make the most of the occasion to do Christmas mail before the 25th December! Ask the God of the Spirit of Christmas to show me why this Christmas is important for Him so I can also be caught up in the wonder of this amazing story.
PS. This year we have been invited to stay with good friends near the Alps for the New Year. So it will give us a chance to get away from leadership and just enjoy being with friends. Their children have flown the nest and we are one short, him being in Australia this year for his studies.