The Stress of Christmas
What should be the greatest season of the year, which should bring us joy and warm our hearts, instead often brings stress and heartburn, headaches and depression. The stress associated with the Christmas Holidays often makes what should be the most wonderful season of the year a miserable mess. In fact, I would not be at the least surprised if a few of you said that you were actually dreading instead of looking forward to the days leading up to the Christmas.
Last Sunday we talked about all the different types of stress that we deal with during the holiday time. We also forget all the stress of the Christmas story: Angels start showing up, scaring the living daylights out of people. Mary is pregnant out of wedlock. Joseph, Mary’s husband to be, wants to quietly break-off the marriage. Joseph is told that Mary is carrying the Son of God and it is up to him to care for them. Joseph, along with every other head of a household, is compelled by law to return to the city of his birth for the census. Joseph finds himself on the road with a pregnant woman; no rest stops, no restaurants, no comforts. I doubt very seriously that Mary was in a very good mood by the time they arrived in Bethlehem. When they finally arrive at Bethlehem Joseph discovers there are no vacancies and he is going to have to tell his pregnant wife that they are going to stay in a barn. I want to submit that there was a lot of stress associated with the first Christmas!
So what about you? How are you entering the holidays this year?
Christmas isn’t a task to complete or a burden to endure, it is a celebration of the burden that Jesus carried so that we could be freed from sin and death! We often hear “To us a child is born, to us a son is given,” (Isaiah 9:6) and conclude that Christmas is a birthday party for the birth of Christ, but Christmas is a birthday celebration for us all because it marks the day Jesus was born so that we could be free! Don’t let the stress of making a list and checking it twice keep you from celebrating the salvation that came with Jesus! Make the main thing the main thing this season by remembering that Christmas is a celebration of God’s ultimate gift of salvation.
In a letter to the church in Colossae, Paul wrote about what it looked like to be alive in Jesus. He instructs the Colossians to, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15). This instruction is true for us today. We are called to live in peace, looking at our lives with thanks for what we have instead of complaining about what we don’t have. When we let peace rule in our lives, the stress of life slowly begins to fade away. The chaos of the holidays is put into context and suddenly becomes null compared with the grace of God and the joyful peace He brings to our lives when we seek Him.
As you start each day out this holiday season, make your morning prayer one of asking GOD for peace.
~ Pastor Gerry Michalski | Lead Pastor