Summary: The Christmas season should bring us joy and warm our souls, but more often than not, it brings heartburn and stress, headache and depression. Holiday stress will make this most wonderful time of year a miserable mess, if you let it.
PRESCRIPTION FOR OVERCOMING HOLIDAY STRESS
The Christmas season should bring us joy and warm our souls, but more often than not, it brings heartburn and stress, headache and depression. Holiday stress will make this most wonderful time of year a miserable mess, if you let it.
In spite of Holiday Stress, Christmas holds the potential to fulfill and renew. Christmas brings people together; it makes us focus on Christian values.
Christmas is a time for family traditions and rituals. These rituals give us a sense of continuity and stability. They allow us a way to express our love for one another.
Christmas is a time to reflect on the greatest gift of all time ? the gift of salvation ? that precious gift given by our Heavenly Father in the form of a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in a manger. Christmas is about salvation!
The stresses that plague people this time of year are rooted in three basic sources: TIME (getting everything done), MONEY (paying for it), and EMOTIONS (painful memories that resurface and family conflicts.) To illustrate this, I have compiled a list of things that can go wrong at Christmas. Most of these come from personal experience.
I call it: MURPHY’S SPECIAL LAWS FOR THE HOLIDAYS:
1. The time it takes to find a parking place is inversely proportional to the amount of time you have to spend.
2. The other line always moves faster ? and if you don’t believe it, change lines and see what happens.
3. Unassembled toys take three times as long to put together than you planned because the guy who wrote the instructions speaks 3 languages English not being one of them, and there is always a pile of nuts, bolts and washers left over.
4. When you return to the store to buy the gift that your husband, wife or child showed you the previous day, it’s gone and there are no more in stock.
5. The star singer in the Christmas musical comes down with laryngitis the day before the performance.
6. If you get something in the mail that looks like a fruitcake, chances are it is ? I recommend that you repackage it and mail it to your favorite politician
7. Someone always forgets the rolls in the oven at Christmas dinner.
8. If you hear a loud crashing noise, your Christmas tree is probably lying in a prone position.
9. If the toilet is going to break or the sink plug up, it will always happen while everyone is at your house celebrating.
10. You gather your family around the hearth and light the Yule Log only to discover that you forget to open the flue.
11. Finally if Clarance the angel from the movie "It’s a Wonderful Life" shows up, you’re in for an interesting day.
I know that you all have had similar experiences, and we could probably make a ten-page list of things that go wrong at Christmas. The point is that THINGS WILL GO WRONG! They always have and they always will. What makes all the difference in the world, is whether you let it affect you.
Holiday Stress is nothing new; it’s been around a long time. Let’s go back to the original Christmas and explore the possibility that Holiday Stress was at work even then.
Angels start showing up and scaring the daylights out of people.
Mary is pregnant with Jesus out of wedlock.
Joseph wants to break off the engagement with Mary
Its census and tax time
On the road with a pregnant woman ? no fast food, no rest stops, no air conditioning, and no comfort. By the time they arrived in Bethlehem she was probably ready to kill Joseph and then they couldn’t even find a motel vacancy.
Delivery in the livery (I can visualize Joseph pacing outside the manger while the midwife delivered Jesus) (Joseph was so he would have passed out cigars, but they hadn’t been invented yet.)
Unexpected guests arrive (When the shepherds came, Mary was probably so exhausted after labor and delivery that she didn’t care what the manger looked like. The important thing was that people came to share in the joy of her newborn son.)
And then there was the customary circumcision ? I can just imagine Mary telling Joseph, "there’s no way I’m riding back to Nazareth on a donkey with a cranky baby who has just been circumcised." (It doesn’t end here)
On the 3rd Christmas More unexpected guests arrive (the Magi, uninvited foreign dignitaries) Death threats by King Herod. Another angel appears to Joseph in a dream and says, "head for the border son." They escape into Egypt, with few possessions, no family, no home and no American Express.
If you ask me, things got pretty hectic in the lives of Joseph and Mary when Jesus showed up. But with a little divine help they endured the hardships and went on with life.