Christian Counseling for a Joyous ChristmasThe secularization of Christmas causes burnout. When we strip Christmas of its spiritual value and turn it into a “Holiday” season of gifts, shopping, and over stretching ourselves mentally, physically and financially, then we can only expect a time of peace to become a time of chaos. How many people lose this peace in their attempts to micromanage every event, instead of focusing on spiritual preparation for the Lord? Christian Counseling emphasizes the importance of spiritual preparation and a sharing of Christ’s gift with our family, friends and even strangers.
One of the first types of burnout may be an over zealous attempt to give. There are many Christians who go to church or give just during the Holidays and they find themselves running a marathon with a minute to go. True Christian giving is year round. Many to their own agony, go store to store, hoping to get gifts for everyone just to “get a gift” or feel the need to help anyone and everyone to share the “Christmas Spirit”. We must stay within our energy and budget! If one has paced themselves the whole year with helping the poor, aiding friends, and showing affection to family, then perhaps the stress to go overboard in the final month of the year would not be necessary? Are you there for your family all twelve months, or just at the end?
I do not want to lessen the spiritual urge to give, what I want to emphasize is the necessity of not just saving it all for Christmas but giving to our neighbor year round within our energy and budget. If one attempts to do every good deed, buy every single gift and donate every cent at the end of the year, then that person will experience burnout. We must also as Christians distinguish between giving and being used. The saints gave everything to God, but they helped those truly in need. When our good intentions not only help others but fulfill their own obligations, then we are no longer helping them but being a crutch for them. Many people need help, but let us help those who truly need it. Establishing boundaries and having a little for you and your family in regards to time and savings is not against the Gospel, especially when your vocation is first to your family!
Yet there are those who exist on the opposite end of the spectrum who never give. These “Uncle Scroodges” make it a year round habit of hoarding for themselves without sharing or giving to the least of their brethren. They are abosbed in self love and the secular values of Christmas. These people will defintely experience burnout as they jump from party to party, worrying ‘who gets what and who did not get that’. These individuals will also begin to experience post holiday depression as the festivities die down and the grind of the new year sets in. This is because their Christmas season is during the time of spiritual preparation and not after Christmas. Their depression will result due to a lack of spiritual joy that Christ gives via his Incarnation. They will not dwell upon Christ’s love to become a slave and eventually die for us, but they will dwell on what they need next or what they did not get or the emptiness of no time off from work or the lack of parties this weekend. The secularism will choke them during the Christmas season as their energy is drained and it will also depress them when the post celebration is over and they have no energy left nor anything to look forward to.
So to avoid these burnouts, enjoy the traditions but primarily focus on Christ. During the Advent season and the St. Phillip Fast, prepare yourself spiritually with sacrifices for Christ. Understand the giving nature of Christ and how we can emulate that but within our own capabilities. Keep this season peaceful with prayer, spiritual exercises and attendance at Church. And most importantly meditate on Christ’s Incarnation!
If you are interested in Christian Counseling Certifications, please review the program. The program offers a variety of courses for those interested in christian counseling certifications.
Mark Moran, MA