The Christmas build-up is famous for being prime stress-out time, particularly and especially for busy moms. So here is your annual gentle reminder to forsake all stressing out. Put all your worries, concerns, panics, and pressures (and lists of things you cannot possibly get done) in a big box, tie it with a ribbon, and put it away. Remember that all good things come with temptations, and Christmas is no exception. Being tempted is not the same thing as sin. Having temptations to get stressed out is normal, every day life. Giving way to the temptation is the problem.
Now a little stress is a good thing; without it we might not get very much done. Deadlines make us work harder, and there is no stopping December 25. But when stress turns into worry which then leads to self-pity, which causes grumbling, which makes for a sour attitude, it is no fun for anyone, neither you nor the people who are witnesses to your stressful life. In fact, they get tired of hearing about it: Ha! You think you have it bad. I have eighty-five people on my list. And I haven’t even started shopping yet!Â And of course this is not glorifying to God, which is what our lives are to be all about. Especially at the celebration of Christmas.
The worst case scenario is that you won’t get it done. The cards won’t get mailed on time. The cookies won’t get baked. The kids won’t have the hand-made gifts you had planned.Â But if the kids have a joyful mom over Christmas, that will have a far greater impact on them than the missing cookies or gifts.
Maybe the stress is because of finances this year. You just can’t do all those things you had hoped. One of my kids’ favorite memories of Christmas involves stockings full of bungie cords and rubber bands! They had so much fun with those things for months.
Sometimes the big disasters (the turkey burned, the gravy spilled, the gifts were all late, broken, and stolen) make the best stories later. We need to recognize them at the time and enjoy them as we live them out, believing God as we go.
So have a wonderful time of preparation. Don’t stint on the gifts and the candy and the celebration. But do it all as an overflow of JOY, not as a panic-stricken obligation! And treasure up the good stories as you go.
Though the fig tree may not blossom, nor fruit on the vines; though the labor of the olive may fail, and the fields yield no food; though the flock may be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls — Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation (Habakkuk 3:17-18).