By Lincoln Depradine
I trust that in the frenzy leading up to Christmas Day, 25 December, everyone takes timeout to reflect on the reason for the season — Jesus Christ.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace,’’ say the scriptures in Isaiah.
Reflection could take the form of worship to the Almighty, thanking him for his mercies and seeking guidance and help to “walk in the way of God’’; or by being a living example of Christ and reaching out with acts of kindness and love to those around us, even if they are total strangers.
For many, isolation and the absence of the means to partake in the abundance of food and other material items associated with Christmas, lead to the onset of boredom and depression.
We must look out for those who might be afflicted by those conditions.
John Eastwood, a Canadian university professor and clinical psychologist, has written that “to be bored is to be mentally unengaged; and, when you are mentally engaged, you are not bored. Boredom is precisely that desire to be engaged.’’
Eastwood and a group of colleagues, who studied boredom, have published their findings in Perspectives on Psychological Science. The results of the study, and their definition of boredom, are included in the September 2012 issue of the publication.
Everyone has experienced boredom in their lives and it usually passes.
But, Eastwood warns of “chronic boredom’’ that has been linked to depression.
“Boredom has also been linked to various maladaptive behaviours such as gambling addiction, eating disorders and aggression,’’ he says. “It seems people who are easily bored are two-and-a-half times more likely to die of heart disease than people who are not. We need to realise that ongoing chronic boredom can be painful and debilitating.’’
Incidentally, the first recorded use of the word, boredom, is in the Charles Dickens’ masterpiece Bleak House — a book that was recommended years ago by longtime friend, Hilda Roberts-Gittens. A very good read; I thoroughly enjoyedBleak House. Thanks, Hilda.
So, in the coming days, enquire on how you can contribute to children, or the elderly, or to families that are in need or may find themselves lonely, isolated and bored this Christmas.
You can contribute directly to them. Or, alternatively, you can make a contribution in cash or in-kind to one of the many reputable organizations hosting special Christmas events.
I can vouch for Pamela Steele and her Anglican Church friends — people like Thelma and Yvonne — who have been doing a splendid job year after year with their annual Christmas dinner.
The dinner, held at Court Lily of the Valley on upper Market Hill, is part of the Anglican Church’s Community Program for the Poor.
It is primarily intended for people 60 years and older, and dinner guests do not have to be Anglican to participate.
(Pedro, Pamela says she still wants the ham for the dinner. She says it makes no difference whether or not you’re MP).
I bet, too, that former MP Glynis Roberts, now leader of the National United Front, will continue with her tradition of hosting one of the largest children’s parties at Christmas in South St George.
But, there are many other individuals and organizations across the length and breadth of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite that dedicate time and effort each year to spread the joy of Christmas, visiting hospitals and homes for children and the elderly. Give generously to them.
Your gift, our gift, is small compared to the gift of God that was given more than 2,000 years ago at Christmas.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’’ (John 3:16).
The real essence of life is embodied in human virtues such as love, peace, patience, sympathy and care, as well as a dependence on God.
Each day we should be like the biblical King David who faced trials and tribulations like us, but remained steadfast in God. “David encouraged himself in the Lord, his God’’ (1 Samuel, 30:6).
I know it can be difficult. But for the poor — the majority population — please try to resist the commercial pressure of buying or crediting that which you know you could ill afford.
Life goes on after Christmas, which should be nothing more than a simple but wonderful reminder of Christ’s humble beginning and his perfect God–filled life on earth.
I extend greetings to everyone, wishing you a God-centred Christmas. Have a safe and enjoyable holiday season, and happy New Year.