Don’t let Christmas Day become a chore

After the chaos of previous years I decided not to leave my Christmas shopping until the last moment. So over the last week I decided to become organised and dutifully searched the internet and walked the streets looking for suitable presents.

After the chaos of previous years I decided not to leave my Christmas shopping until the last moment. So over the last week I decided to become organised and dutifully searched the internet and walked the streets looking for suitable presents.

Certainly online shopping relieves a lot of the pressure. With my brother working in Belfast I was left with the sole responsibility of buying for the two of us, obviously there are no shops in Belfast. This works fine as regards family and friends but then I had to think about my colleagues in the Waterside parish. Fr Canny is another year older and seems to worry more about the cold this year. Last week when the weather was baltic, Fr Michael was hoping his weekly outdoor football match would be called off. Every five minutes he was checking his phone in the vain hope the game had been cancelled. Alas the text never arrived and he had to soldier out into the artic wind. I felt sorry for Fr Michael as I watched the football on TV from the comfort of my sofa. So I’ll check if any of the shops sell outdoor onesies for those like Fr Canny with thinning blood.

I can’t buy Fr Joseph an onesie because he already has one for every day of the week. Fr Joseph is the resident clothes horse so I might buy him and Fr Roland matching Christmas jumpers. The Waterside Parish could then have their own version of the Clancy Brothers or Foster and Allen. Failing this plan I could always purchase Fr Colhoun a calendar because he’s always wishing everyone a happy Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m beginning to think this is a ploy to enable him to remember which day of the week it is. I bought Fr Roland a karaoke machine last year but after a few hours Fr Canny hid the batteries. As Fr Canny was decommissioning power sources, Fr Joseph came up with a more extreme response to the singing, he cleared off to India for five weeks.

During the season of Advent we can put ourselves under so much pressure to find the perfect gift, to organise the best Christmas ever. In pursuit of these goals we drive ourselves to distraction with worry and fear. As a result of all the hustle and bustle, the queuing and deliberations over what to buy, Christmas Day becomes a chore, something to be endured and not enjoyed. When I attended Sacred Heart Primary School’s Carol Service the carols and readings helped to create a special atmosphere. During Advent we’re asked to wait, to surrender our attempts at trying to control everything. As Christmas approaches the figure of John the Baptism proclaims a poignant message, especially through the witness of his life. John didn’t worry or fret because he trusted in God. God’s plan will unfold in its own time and in its own way. All we can do is open our lives to God’s approach and pray for the courage to welcome Christ, allowing Jesus the freedom to bring peace to our hearts.