SENTINEL-TIMES COMMENT

A LOT of people aren’t even that religious anymore, so it’s something of a mystery why Christmas continues to generate the celebrations, and to some extent, the heat that it creates each year.

It’s probably more a celebration of families taking the opportunity to come together, to go on annual leave and to mark the end of a busy year that we celebrate now more than to acknowledge the birth of Christ and the joy that brings those who believe.

But that’s where it all began, and we certainly want to be able to respect the traditions and messages of “peace and goodwill” that have so long been associated with Christmas.

Whatever way you go, Christmas is a good thing, and we should do what we can to keep it that way.

For most people, it’s all good. Family members who’ve been away get the chance to come home to spend time with family and friends. There’s the fun of exchanging gifts, sharing a meal, a drink and just taking time to relax.

For others though, Christmas can be a difficult time of loneliness, disconnection, and anxiety where breakdowns in family and relationships are under the most pressure.

It’s a real problem with which many people struggle year after year.

But, when it’s all said and done, it’s just another day and many of the concerns we feel fade away in the days that follow.

The secret is to look for the joy of Christmas where you find it; from your neighbours, at community carols events, at the church, around the shops, in the streets, and with friends and family members with whom you have the best connection.

Another important message at Christmas, on the commercial side, is “shop locally’ where possible to support those business operators that offer the convenience of their services locally all year round, although this year it might not be such an issue with many people unwilling to go shopping in busy city malls while COVID is circulating.

After a challenging year we deserve to be able to put our feet up and finally take a breather, so to all our readers and contributors, have a safe, happy and stress-free Christmas, you’ve earned it!