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Summary: The myriad of emotions as Christmas create a time of stress, conflict, frustration, and dissatisfaction. How do we deal with these emotions?

DEALING WITH HOLIDAY EMOTIONS

LUKE 10:38-42

Introduction: Perhaps no other season lends itself to such a myriad of emotions as Christmas. The holidays can be a time of stress, conflict, frustration, and dissatisfaction causing emotions to intensify. Holiday Stress for many is all too real. Martha and Mary experienced many of the same emotions we experience at Christmas when Christ came to their house for dinner. What are these emotions and how do we deal with them?

I. The Emotions of Christmas

A. Anxiety

1. The hustle and bustle of the Christmas season can be a time of tremendous stress and anxiety. Everyone running around at a frantic pace trying to get everything ready for the Holidays. Worrying about what Christmas gifts to buy, getting the house clean, making out Christmas Cards, baking cookies and planning the big Christmas dinner all add to the holiday anxiety.

2. The joy and good will of Christmas turns into anxiety as individuals worry about the ability to buy expensive presents and host family and friends at their home. We feel there is too much to do and not enough time to do it. We may be struggling with debt that will only get worse when all the credit card bills come in January.

3. Anxiety often is accompanied with depression.

4. Depression happens when our grand holiday expectations collide with the reality of squabbling in-laws, sullen teenagers, disappointing gifts, missed loved ones, and over-limit credit cards. It happens as soon as we hear the sound of relatives resuming their old familiar, dysfunctional roles in the family. – copied

5. Luke 10:40a “But Martha was distracted with much serving (by her many tasks)…”

B. Anger

1. Anxiety and depression often give way to anger.

2. The trappings of Christmas season often portray the holiday season as a festive and fun time, free from troubles. In reality, however, stress, family difficulties and anger quite often escalate during this time.

3. Someone wrote, “It’s hard to be a Christian in the last few weeks before Christmas, when the Christmas rush really gets bad. It’s hard to really act like a Christian when you’re desperately trying to find a parking spot at the mall... It’s hard not to lose your temper... It’s hard to turn the other cheek.” - copied

4. Note the tone of Martha’s words in Luke 10:40b “...Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me."

5. Martha was angry because Mary wasn’t doing what she felt Mary ought to be doing. She actually scolds the Lord for Mary’s actions.

6. Anger is never without a reason, but seldom with a good one. - B. Franklin.

C. Sadness

1. For many there is a sadness that comes as they have experienced the death of a loved one, a divorce in the family, the serious illness of a family member, or other circumstances too numerous to mention. The holiday season for some families, becomes a time that adds focus to the sorrow.

2. This sentiment is expressed in the blog writings of a young girl, “I really don’t know why but every year when Christmas is coming I start to feel sad. I like the lights in the street and that atmosphere but I feel alone... maybe if I had someone to spend Christmas with it will be different... but I am alone..” - copied

3. Martha allowed herself to become a worry wart fussing over every detail of a meal and to miss the joy of fellowship with her guest.

4. It is easy for us to miss what is going on around us - to get so cluttered with things - to get so busy getting things right - that we fail to enjoy the precious opportunities God places in front of us.

D. Joy

1. Luke 10:39 “And she (Martha) had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”

2. Mary takes time to sit quietly at the feet of Jesus, listening to His word, enjoying being in His presence.

3. Sitting at His feet was the ancient posture of disciples or learners.

4. It indicates she was His disciple; she wanted to learn from Him.

5. She was more concerned about being a good disciple, than a good hostess.

6. Mary had the discipline to seek first things first, putting the better before the good! – Luke 10:42 “But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her."

II. Dealing with the Stress

A. Remember Why You Are Doing What You Are Doing.

1. Martha got so busy serving Jesus she forgot to spend time with Jesus.

2. We can get so busy with our preparations for Christmas, and our participation in Christmas that we forget what is most important to spend time with Christ.

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