Summary: Christmas doesn't come from a store.

“How to Prepare for a Stress-Less Christmas”

“As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me! 41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42

Intro: Christmas doesn’t come from a store.

A few days before Christmas

two men decided to go cross bow hunting for deer while their wives went Christmas shopping.

The men drove their truck way back through the woods.

As the men went to their deer stands a terrible cold wind started blowing.

It began to storm with freezing rain mixed with snow.

Finally after a couple hours having seen no sign of deer they decided to return home.

On the way out…, the truck got stuck in the mud.

Using a shovel they each took turns digging and pushing…, trying to get the truck unstuck.

Covered in mud and soaking wet

one of the guys looked at his buddy and said,

“You know…, this sure beats Christmas shopping with our wives.”

What should be the greatest season of the year,

which should bring the greatest 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.

Every year I meet people who are so stressed out they say they are dreading Christmas..., They can’t wait for it to be over.

That’s why we are going to talk about “How to Prepare for a Stress-Less Christmas.”

The stress that plagues people at this time of the year is rooted in three basic sources;

I. TIME (getting everything done),

“Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of (your time)

every opportunity, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:10

a. be very careful---sounds an alarm, is a warning of danger

b. wise or unwise use of time

c. days are evil---indicates we are in a spiritual battle

It is important that in your life…, you spend time on things…, that are worthy of your time.

There is story in Luke 10:38-42.

It is a story about how to deal with stress.

Poor Martha understood what stress was,

rushing around trying to get everything ready – after all Jesus was in her house.

Martha surely represents every person who is so worked up about getting everything done that needs to be done so that they can “enjoy Christmas.”

Stress can result from anything that.

Some of the symptoms of stress are:

• Frequent headaches.

• Irregular heartbeats.

• Getting dizzy or light headed.

• Indigestion or nausea.

• Difficulty with sleep.

• Waking up tired.

• Anger or irritability.

I think we can safely say that Martha was familiar with these.

I think that we can see some of the traits of the Stress-Prone in the life of Martha.

Perhaps you see some of these characteristics reflected in your own life.

1. Always in a hurry

2. Never enough time

3. Putting God second or third or last place

Just like some of you are thinking about other things right now

while you try to look like you are paying attention to this sermon.

Your mind is on other things, other places.

That sure sounds like Martha…, does it sound like you?

One translation of verse 40 reads, “Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.”

That sure sounds like our lives today.

Like Martha we can get so distracted by what we consider the many necessary things that we miss the point.

By focusing on the minor things we miss the major…, what is the most important.

Notice what Jesus tells Martha in verse 42, “Only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.”

What Martha had chosen was not bad.

All the things that she was doing were good,

but not all the things she was doing were necessary.

Perhaps all of the preparations you have planned for Christmas are good, but are they all necessary?

The thing about Martha’s situation is that no one had assigned her all these duties,

she was the one who had decided what “had to be done.”

If she had too much to do, it was not simply because her sister Mary was not helping her,

it was because her plans were too elaborate.

Jesus told Martha, “only one thing is needed.”

And do you know what Jesus is talking about?

Do you know the “one thing that is needed?”

* It is not that Mary is doing nothing. NO, just the opposite: Mary is engaged in worship. Deeper relationship. Not worrying but letting go. Having a "Stress-Less" time with Jesus.

The one thing that is needed is that you spend time with Jesus in a personal and spiritual way.

We get so wrapped up in our getting ready for Christmas…, that we don’t make time for Christ.

First let’s begin by ask ourselves as we enter this Christmas season is,

1. What are the things that are really stressing you out.

For example, if it is really stressing you out,

do you really have to have to spend the entire day making fruit cakes and banana bread?

Do you absolutely have to spend the entire day driving to Lexington or Huntington

for that one last minute item on your list?

In fact cross out everything on your list that takes away from the real meaning of Christmas!

2. Remember Why You Are Doing What You Are Doing.

Martha got so busy getting ready for dinner she forgot why she was having the dinner.

We can get so busy with our preparations for Christmas,

that we forget to spend time with Christ.

I want to share a poem that I think says it better than I can entitled, Can This Be Christmas?

“What’s all this hectic rush and worry?

I see all these crowds who run and scurry?

All the lights—the Christmas trees?

The jolly “fat man,” but tell me please…

Where is Christ?

Is he wrapped up in a box

Is he in a bag with a bow?

Has he been baked into a casserole?

No. He’s not there—

you’ll find Him in one place.

Down on your knees in prayer,

But see the many aimless thousands

Who gather on this Christmas Day,

Whose hearts have never yet been opened in that way

I’m tired of all this empty celebration,

Of feasting, drinking, and recreation;

I’ll go instead to Bethlehem.

And there I’ll kneel with those who know

The meaning of that manger low,

And find the Christ—this Christmas.

And worship Christ—not Christmas!

Remember Why You Are Doing What You Are Doing and …

I am gonna plan to worship Jesus on Sunday December 23rd

There is no more important place to be on Sunday morning than church for Christmas.

My faith in God is what is important.

I believe in a Jesus my Lord and Saviour.

He was born so that I can be born again.

He died so that I can die out to sin

He arose so that I can rise again and live eternally in heaven.

I am gonna be awake…,

I am gonna be fresh…,

I am gonna have energy to worship and praise Him this Christmas.

Let’s face it…, your “time” is the most valuable thing we have today.

It is not gold or silver or precious jewels. It is your time.

Show me where you spend your time…, I will show you what you value the most.

It is time to manage your time.

Is Christ the most valuable thing in your life?

“How to Prepare for a Stress-Less Christmas”

Make sure you set aside plenty of time for Jesus.

II. MONEY (paying for it)

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money,

have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

If there is anything that stresses people out at Christmas it is paying for it.

Do you know the real story of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas?”

He put Christmas on a credit card.

In a recent study of 6000 average mom’s…

Mom’s plan on spending about $200 per child at Christmas.

But in reality spend closer to $500 per child at Christmas

We love to spend money at Christmas.

Most people will spend twice as much as they originally planned.

As much as we love Christmas, it is a period of stress

caused by “lack of time, lack of money, and/or the pressure to give or get gifts.”

There are more divorce filings in January than any other month,

There are more heart attacks during the Christmas season than at any other time.

So “How to Prepare for a Stress-Less Christmas”

2. Think about your Budget

“For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.” 1 Timothy 6:10

The stress that comes with Christmas debt can be avoided.

Settle on an amount you can comfortably afford, and staying within that limit.

You say I have to buy everyone a gift…

No you don’t.

No one plans to overspend.

Listen we don’t give gifts we exchange gifts.

This is a root of all kinds of evil.

If someone gives you a $50 gift …, then you feel like you have to give them a $50 gift. That’s not gift giving…, that’s gift exchanging.

What happens when you give someone a $50 gift and they give you a $5 gift?

The temptation is to get mad.

I gave them a $50 gift and they gave me these $5 socks.

And the joy of Christmas giving has been overcome by the root of gift exchanging.

If you are just giving gifts so that you will get gifts back that is the love of Christmas gift exchanging.

I believe the real joy of gift giving is when you give to someone who really needs it.

Or to someone who can’t possibly give an equal gift back to you.

The love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.

Why not give what you can afford to give

and not spend so much that you have a huge debt

Come January and you have to pay for it.

1. Many families draw names.

2. Personalized, Inexpensive Gifts.

These are unique and meaningful.

For example:

An inexpensive gift…, with a personal note…, will often be cherished and kept for a lifetime.

A letter to a friend recalling a special time together

or simply telling a loved one how much they mean to you will be remembered for years and always appreciated.

Philippians 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything,

but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.”

Imagine not worrying about anything this Christmas.

It seems impossible.

But the bible says…, turn your worries into prayers.

If you want to worry less pray more.

If you want to stress less… pray more.

Turn to person sitting beside you right now and say it:

If you want to stress less… pray more.

The third cause of stress during Christmas is our “Emotions.”

III. EMOTIONS (conflict with family and past painful memories that resurface).

“From now on, then, you must live the rest of your earthly lives controlled by God’s will and not by human desires” 1 Peter 4:2

What are human desires?

They are your emotions

a. human desire verse God's will

b. human emotions

We all have that one family member we can't wait to see this Christmas. Lol.

Or we all have that one family member we truly truly wish we could spend one more Christmas with. For some this is the first Christmas without a loved one, who has passed.

Once you become a Christ-follower…, your life should be controlled by God’s will.

Less by how you feel and more by God’s will.

Have you ever thought about what it means to continually live in God’s will?

It means doing something when you don’t feel like it.

It’s when you say, God, I’m hurting, but I give You praise.

God, I’m lonely, but I give You praise.

God, life has treated me unfair, but I give You praise.

When you praise God beyond your feelings, that’s when praise becomes your faith at work.

That’s when your faith becomes your lifestyle.

The world also has a lifestyle.

You cannot hang out with negative people and expect to live a positive life.

They will drain your energy.

They will drain your faith

Don’t waste your energy around people who drain your life.

When other people become negative and bitter, you have a song of praise in your heart.

My dad used to say, he was glad when people were talking about him…,

it meant they were leaving other people alone.

Love on ‘em.

Put your arm around them.

Pray for them.

You will soon get a reputation as a good person.

As a Godly person.

As someone who have faith.

You will start living in victory.

Take charge of your emotions.

Be controlled by God’s will..., not by human emotions.

When you live by your emotions…, you will live filled with stress.

The devil likes to control your emotions.

He knows if he can get you to become angry…, anger turns inward and turns into depression.

He know if he can get you to worry…, worry becomes fear and doubt…, fear and doubt turn into hopelessness.

Decide not to live by how you feel but by the peace that comes from know God is your heavenly Father,

Today I choose to give God my worship and my praise.

When people are talking about you.

When people are complaining.

When people are being negative.

Thanking about what God has done in your life.

Don’t think about how big your problems are;

Think about how big your God is!

Think about what God has delivered you from

If you have overcome a bad habit. Give God praise.

If you were in a bad relationship but now God has put someone in your life who respects and love you.

Give God Praise.

Did God bring you through it?

Did God bring you through it?

Did God bring you through it?

If you were unemployed but not have a job.

Give God Praise.

When you learn and understand that praise activates God’s power

you will overcome whatever trials you are faced with.

Praise opens the door to His victory and blessing.

No matter what is happening around you, worship Him!

Declare His goodness.

God I praise you in advance of my healing!!!

God I praise you in advance of my new job!!!

God I praise you in advance of my financial break through!!!

This is not about just trying to feel good.

This is about declaring that I serve a God who know me…, hears me when I pray…, loves me…,

And is about to bless me.

Don’t talk yourself out of a blessing.

Prepare for a Stress-Less Christmas

God I will give you my time.

I will not let another family member ruin my Christmas.

Instead I will think about what the baby Jesus means.

God I will give you my emotions.

I will not let what someone says make me mad.

I will pray for them ask God to forgive them.

I will not let my emotions control me.

But I will be controlled by the will of God.

God I will give you my money.

I will not spend so much money that I can’t pay for the Christmas gifts I give.

But I will share with others what God has done for me.

Closing: Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Christmas comes from baby Jesus living in my heart.