Ethics & Christian living

Christmas Pretox: a pre-emptive strike on festive busyness

Christmas pretox candle‘I want to simplify your lives. When others are telling you to read more, I want to tell you to read less; when others are telling you to do more, I want to tell you to do less. The world does not need more of you; it needs more of God. Your friends do not need more of you; they need more of God. And you don’t need more of you, you need more of God.’ Eugene Petersen, Subversive Spirituality

What is the point of the Christmas Pretox?

The Christmas Pretox is a pre-emptive strike on stress and busyness.  To help us slow down and focus on the right things. To give us some soul space. To re-dress the balance of a Christmas season which sees us spend more, eat more, drink more and get stressed more than any other time of year.

Focus on what?

Christmas is a celebration which marks the birth of Jesus Christ, so I have used the book of Luke as a basis for 24 daily readings.  Luke was a doctor, who explains at the start of his book that he has ‘carefully investigated everything from the beginning’ and ‘decided to write an orderly account’.

Whatever your personal beliefs about Jesus, I hope that you will find these readings interesting.  Jesus of Nazareth remains a controversial figure but no one can dispute the profound impact that his words and actions have had on the world.  If you are a sceptic, an agnostic or even an atheist, I hope you can find interest in some of the most influential teaching and stories of all time.

The daily readings take you on a journey backwards from Jesus’ life. So they start with the accounts of his resurrection and death and take you through many of the key events and teachings of his short life. It means that the first few readings are a bit heavy as they deal with his arrest and death but don’t let that put you off.  As you go on you’ll cover some of the most famous stories and incidents in his life and in the last few days, you will cover the traditional ‘Christmas stories’ relating to his birth.

How the pretox works

Each day, you are asked to set aside 10-15 minutes each day. Make sure you have a quiet space where you will not be interrupted.  It would be worth setting aside a regular time each day if that is possible.

There really is no rocket science to this –  there are 5 steps and it is very simple:

  1. A time of stilling and silence
  2. A reading from Luke’s gospel
  3. Reflection – on a question related to the reading
  4. A second time of silence
  5. Prayer/Focus for the day ahead

An introduction and 24 daily readings for the Christmas Pretox can be downloaded here on a PDF format. It is recommended that you print it out rather than read on screen.

Please leave a comment or drop me an email – – if you have any questions.  Let the pre-emptive strike begin.

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