There are a myriad of reasons why the seemingly overtly joyful (and sometimes frivolous) season of Christmas is paradoxically a time of acute suffering for many. Even deeply distressing for a number of people.
There exists in our society insidious, yet highly pervasive, ‘pressure’ (from ourselves and even well-meaning others) to present a ‘happy face’ and carefree demeanour to the world at this time of year. A face and countenance that may mask inward struggles, sadness, and sometimes despair.
The current maniacal state of the world is unequivocally tipping the scales of peaceful equilibrium we’ve so dreamed of, towards a rigidly seismic shift in world affairs, which has led to unfaltering catastrophe, mayhem and untold and relentless human heartbreak (think the tragedy of war in the Middle East and Ukraine, resulting in a tsunami-like wave of human death, displacement and trauma).
Although appearing to many as the land of ‘milk and honey’, Australia, while being blessed to a considerable degree, has citizens and residents who are not coping with the cards life has dealt them. Many residing in Australia are both cautiously and boldly hoping for better times ahead (think cost of living pressures, racial disharmony and domestic violence issues, to name just a few catalysts of pain for a plethora of Australians).What should you do if this time of year, with all of its pressures, paradoxes and disparities, is a difficult time for you? Please reach out to family, friends, your doctor and support agencies, such as The Salvation Army (phone 13 72 58). For those who feel they have nowhere else to turn and find themselves in any sort of crisis, please phone Lifeline on telephone number 13 11 14. For young people, there is Kid’s Helpline to ring on 1800 55 1800. Lifeline and Kid’s Helpline are available to call 24 hours a day, every day of the year.What should you do if you’re concerned about someone this holiday season (or anytime for that matter)? Reach out to the person you feel needs to talk/be helped and supported, and ask them how they’re travelling. It may lead to them, through talking, have a burden lifted, mean the world to them and help them get the help they need.
Hopefully, no matter your life circumstances, there are undeniable times of joy for you to experience this Christmas season. If not, you are in my thoughts.
I, and many others throughout the world, stand in solidarity with all those in the world who are enduring any kind of suffering, hardship and loneliness at this time of the year. I hear you and see you. You are not, and never will be, forgotten.
I wish peace, love and hope to all this Christmas, and a better (if 2023 has been hard for you) 2024.