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Summary: Four simple principles for overcoming Holiday stress taken from the story of Martha and Mary.

Overcoming Christmas Stress

Luke 10:38-42

Whether you like it our not, whether you are prepared or not, the Christmas Season is upon us! This past Friday, the Friday after Thanksgiving Day, is the known as the busiest shopping day of the year. I overheard one woman on Friday say that she had left home at 4:30 A.M. to get her day started at WALMART. Ladies you need to know that it is a scientific fact that shopping is more stressful on men than it is on women. According to a report in “The Oregonian,” British psychologist David Lewis found proof that shopping is hazardous to men’s health. Testing volunteer’s ages 22-79 by sending them out Christmas shopping, he recorded blood pressure rates that “you’d expect to see in a fighter pilot going into combat.” In the same test, only one in four women showed any significant signs of stress from shopping.

“A few days before Christmas two men in Florida decided to go sailing while their wives went Christmas shopping. While the men were out sailing a terrible storm arose and they had great difficulty keeping their boat under control as they maneuvered their way back to land their boat got grounded on a sandbar. And they had to jump overboard and they had to push with all their might trying to get the boat into deeper water. And as they did the wind was blowing terribly, the waves were rushing upon them and they wre soaking wet and knee deep in mud. And one of the guys looked at his buddy and said, ‘You know it sure beats Christmas shopping though.’ ”

[Aaron Burgess. “Are You Discouraged At Christmas.” Sermon on Proverbs 18:14 - www. SermonCentral.]

But seriously 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.

The stress that plagues people at this time of the year are rooted in three basic sources; TIME (getting everything done), MONEY (paying for it) and EMOTIONS (conflict with family and past painful memories that resurface).

The Seven Irrevocable Laws Of The Christmas Holiday’s.

1. The time that you spend find a parking space is inversely proportional to the amount of time you have to spend shopping.

2. The other check-out line always moves faster – if you don’t believe me, change lines and see what happens.

3. Beware of the three most frightening words – Some Assembly Required. Be aware that unassembled toys take three times as long to assemble as they say, because the guy who wrote the instructions speaks 3 languages English not being one of them. And while their will always be at least one missing part, there will always be a pile of nuts and bolts and washers left over.

4. The three most often overlooked words are – Batteries Not Included. Be aware

that toys that require batteries seldom if

ever come with them.

5. When you return to the store to buy the gift that your husband, wife or child showed you the previous day, it is gone and they will not be receiving any more.

6. If you hear a loud crash in the living room, it is highly probable that your Christmas tree is probably lying on its side. (We once had this happen to us three times in one season until I discovered the tree had a crooked trunk and nailed it to the floor).

7. If your toilet is ever going to break or your sink plug up it will be when at everyone is at your house celebrating.

If you stop to think about it stress is nothing new at Christmas. The events surrounding the very first Christmas were filled with almost unimaginable stress.

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!

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