For When You're Stressing Out Over Christmas
But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her”
In the days leading up to Christmas, I can act just like Martha if I’m not careful. I get worried about everything that has to get done. Will I find the perfect present for everyone on my list? Did I get everything I need at the grocery store for that new recipe? Is the house clean enough for guests who will be visiting? Can I lose ten pounds before that dress-up affair? Moreover, where will I get the money to pay for all of the extras?
December is full of so many extra things to think about. The most wonderful time of the year can also be a most stressful time of excess. A fuller than normal schedule can leave me feeling tired. Higher than normal spending can leave my wallet empty and my credit balance high. An excessive supply of chocolate and sweet goodies wherever I look can expand my waistline. And worry over all of these areas can make me feel just plain exhausted.
Just like Martha, I can be worried and upset over all of the details, details, and more details. There are plenty of them all year round, but it seems like there are even more in the month of December.
Picture how your own schedule gets altered during December. The hustle and bustle can easily become the harried and overwhelmed.
Maybe this year I would feel the Christmas spirit more if I took time, to do more pausing and reflecting. My house doesn’t have to be perfectly decorated. I can eat some of the treats of the season without partaking of all of them (even though that is easier said than done). I can buy smaller, less expensive presents that really mean something to the person instead of buying the latest and greatest to impress them. I can buy some Christmas cookies at the bakery to serve my friends when I don’t have enough time to bake anything myself. This could allow me to concentrate on talking with them instead of worrying about what I’ll serve them. Moreover, I can simply spend time with friends and family and give them the gift of fellowship instead of spending money that I don’t have.
Is it the food, the shopping, and the money that makes Christmas special? Or is there something more? Is it the love and caring that seems to be more abundant in December that makes Christmas special? The latter is definitely more important than the former, but is there still more?
Yes, there is more. Most of all, the birth of Jesus in the book of Luke in the Bible should be cherished and re-read, not only in December but all year long. The more I cherish that, the more grateful I will become and all of those other details become less and less. As Jesus becomes greater, I and my ideas become less. The hymn, "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus," by Helen Howarth Lemmel speaks of this very idea:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.
God sent his only begotten son into the world. He came into the world to bless the world. He lived a perfect life and showed us the way to live. He showed us that the more humble we are, the more pleased God is. He died as a perfect sacrifice so that justice would prevail and sin could be forgiven.
This, after all, is worth being concerned about. Let us fix our eyes on the baby in the manger and all that he represents this Christmas and feel the peace that he came to bring us.
Will everyone around you like this newfound ideal for Christmastime? I think most people will because most people are looking for a little relaxation and peace at this busy time of the year. But…there might be people in your life that won’t like it. Of course, they’re probably just jealous of your calmness in the midst of their anxiety. Pour yourself a cup of hot apple cider, breathe in its soothing aroma, and remember, just who you are trying to please anyway—God or people? When I seek to please God first, people will ultimately be blessed anyway, in spite of themselves.
Jennifer Heeren has always loved to write. For more than a decade, she has enjoyed writing encouraging blog messages. She loves to write things that bring people hope and encouragement. Her cup is always at least half-full. She regularly contributes to Crosswalk.com. She lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband. Visit her at www.jenniferheeren.com.
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