A catchphrase from “Chuck“, when things are going wrong or we end up facing a real struggle do we “freak out”? How do you react?  Some people are calm in a crisis, others appear to be but are doing a “swan act” and paddling like crazy to stay “afloat”.

So what freaks you out? What scares you?

  • Money (or lack thereof?)
  • your job? (losing it, having to face office bully/horrible boss)
  • Spiders (big or small)
  • long words? (hippopotomonstrosesequipedaliophobia!)
  • Church? (Ecclesiophobia)

I once spoke in church about how I felt some fears were irrational to Christians as what’s the worst that can happen? Death? (which Christ as overcome!)  Nothing can separate us from the love of God, yet some things make us feel that we have been, that he is too far away or we are so lost in our stress and anxiety that we cannot see him at all!

Our son has been suffering with anxiety about school for years, but in the last year it just got worse and worse! To the point that on really bad days, my mum had to drive him to the school gate, when he was finally calm enough to leave the front door!  I look at him and sometimes i see a handsome little boy, sweet-natured and happy, but at the other times i see a tiny “hulk-like” creature who is clueless and inconsolable.  What amazed us is his ability to conceal his discomfort and stress, whilst at school and then let it all out at home!  Since my children were very little, we were often told how good they were at school and sunday school, which made me proud of them, their behaviour at home wasnt so exemplary, but in a way i am glad it is that way.  The only problem with this process (and I suffer with it too) is that we don’t voice/express the emotion/thoughts when things are actually happening!

At high school my (so called) friends were jerks at times to me, constantly trying to get a rise out of me, so i somehow made a conscious decision to not let them see what they doing to me!  Unfortunately, it did make me grumpy towards my family who didn’t deserve it! Yesterday, so much went on, I could almost feel my blood boiling, getting to work and having to deal with inconsiderate people leaving me extra work to do before i could do what i needed to and i came in early, so tiredness didnt help, I had other people doing things which were totally unhelpful!  I kept thinking to myself on the way home “i will not be grumpy with my family! they have not done anything to deserve me being grumpy to them

I love the story of the Grinch because I too, dislike christmas, all the commercialism, silly decorations (i am not creative and I detest the waste of money and electricity at this time of year!) Even the “reason for the season” isnt right because contrary to Boney-M, “Mary’s boy child” was apparently born in september!  I would love to make a bigger deal about Easter! Christmas or “Xmas” (as it should be in most places now) is “Christmas without Christ!” “Thanksgiving” seems to have joined Christmas in losing its reason and purpose.  I was completely bemused and bewildered by UK retailers deciding to do “Black Friday” sales?! We don’t even celebrate thanksgiving?! Unlike Christmas day, which is a mix of pagan and christian practices. Thanksgiving was meant to be about taking stock of what we have and being thankful to God for all his blessings!(Thats what sabbath should be about too, but thats another story!)

I have been to a fair few carol services in my life, but the whole story to me (or perhaps the way it is talked about is yawnworthy). Yes, its incredible that Jesus came as a babe to grow up like us, to know exactly how we felt and thought, but having all this other extra stuff on top has made us lose the whole point!  My favourite 4 things about christmas are:-

  1. the food
  2. the movies (cuddling up with my kids and watching them)
  3. the music (not carols but the classic songs from the charts)
  4. having time with my family

Due to our son having stomach pain, which meant he was at A&E for about half of christmas day last year, we didn’t get to a christmas service, the year before we wondered why on earth we went as we didn’t feel that welcome in the church we went to!  The last time I can remember enjoying a  christmas day service was before I was married and that was over a decade ago! But that isn’t what christmas should be about either!  I have been accused of not being passionate about things but what really annoys me is people thinking or following a “religion” because they feel they have to or those who claim to be “church of england” when all they mean is “I am british, I go to church at easter and christmas”.

Jesus came as a babe to show how much he loved us, when he came is irrelevant! It is the fact that

  • He came
  • He saw
  • He felt
  • He healed
  • He forgave
  • He walked
  • He fed
  • He shared
  • He spoke
  • He loved
  • He died
  • He rose again

Apart from the miraculous (and you can believe their existence or not), Jesus lived a life that if you or I imitated for at least half the time, would make the world a better place not just this time of year but all year round!  I heard someone from the local mental health team about preventive measures to meet people before they reach the point of freaking out and not coping, those who care for others as well as those being cared for! We all need someone to care, jesus did and so should we!