#7 Dangers of Christmas

A few years ago the Huffington Post featured an article on the 12 dangers of Christmas.  The article focused on fire safety during the holiday season.  They covered everything from your Christmas tree drying out and catching the drapes on fire to burning down your home while preparing your roast beast.

The article had me thinking, what if there were other dangers during Christmas?  What if, aside from falling off your roof while working on your light display and over roasting your chestnuts, there were hidden dangers during the season of advent that most of us overlook. So I decided to write about the dangers of Christmas we often ignore.

Now, a few years later, I want look at a few more dangers of Christmas we might ignore or be unaware of. So here we go, another 12 Dangers of Christmas.


Ignoring Our Grief

Christmas is the time of year when we are happy and jolly. There is never a reason during the Christmas season where we should be ignoring the things that might make us feel sad, depressed, or anxiety. After all, Burl Ives tells us, “Have a holly, jolly Christmas; It’s the best time of the year.”

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
It’s the best time of the year.

I truly believe that Christmas is the best time of year.

As a youth pastor, the Nativity story gives me the best story possible for how a teenager rocked the world. This is especially important because time and time again teenagers are told to conform, sit down, and wait to be the church of the future (instead of the church of today). This alone gives me reason to be holly and jolly.

For some of us though, this time of the year can be a reminder of the things that have gone wrong in our lives or people we’ve recently (or not so recently) lost.

This time last year my family was burying my late grandfather. Sonny, as he was affectionately know to all of his friends, was a guys guy. There was nothing he could not fix, and if it couldn’t be fixed you didn’t need it.

I don’t believe I ever processed my grief last December. I came back from granddad’s funeral and went back to work, preparing for a Christmas Eve service along with decking the halls with Camden. Just as I was preparing to lead the 9:00 Christmas Eve service I found myself thinking that my grandfather would’ve been so proud of me, which then led to emotions I didn’t know I had, which led to me being truly flustered as we began worship.

For many of us this time of year is difficult because stupid Burl Ives tells us we have to be holly and jolly.

What Burl forgot is that sweet baby Jesus came into the world in a way that may not have been holly and jolly. From being born  to a first century teenage girl to later fleeing for Egypt, living as a refugee, the first Christmas was just as messy if not messier than a lot of what we are experiencing this Christmas.

Ignoring our grief is a danger because it ignores the messiness of the first Christmas. If Burl Ives were truly being honest maybe his lyrics would go something like this:

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
It’s the best time of the year.

I don’t know if there’ll be snow, but have a cup of cheer.

Have a holly, jolly Christmas;
And when you walk down the street
Say Hello to friends you know
and look for someone who is hurting, pray together, and give thanks that Jesus enters our world in a way that wasn’t exactly holly or jolly.

What grief are you ignoring this Christmas? Is there someone you know that is experiencing grief this week or next that you could minister to?