If you search Google for “Christmas, the most stressful time of the year” you will get 7,860,000 articles or references. Christmas, this time of the greatest blessings, has become a source of great stress to many. Regretfully, this is not limited to Christmas. This epidemic has overtaken our culture with grave consequences. Neuroscientist, Dr. Neil Nedley says that stress is a primary cause for anxiety. Unresolved anxiety often leads to depression. The results are that antidepressant use jumped by 65 percent in the past 15 years. Why? What is the cause?
To illustrate the cause, allow me to suggest that life is like a snowball. It starts small, simple, clean, and refreshing. We love it, enjoy it, and as we control it we can have lots of fun. As it rolls down the highway of life, this beautiful snowball grows in size and complexity. In our competitive world, it gains momentum and it develops a force all its own beyond our control. In the process, this snowball picks up other undesirable habits, demands, and material possessions that are counterproductive. One day without notice it turns into an avalanche with a force that destroys lives and homes. For many of us, life has become an out of control snowball.
What can you do?
The birth of the Christ child was to bring us peace; instead, it has become an out of control season of hyperactivity and impulsive spending habits. As you approach the Christmas season, start taking control of the stress causing the snowball in your life.
- Make a list of your most precious Christmas memories. Take time to thank God for them. What can you do to replicate these memories?
- List your important family and friends. Take time to thank God for them. What do they need the most – your time or your material gifts and possessions? Act accordingly.
- Make a list of urgent things that burden you. Take time to pray for each one. What is the worst that can happen if each of these is not done before Christmas? Let this be your guide.
- Accept the invitation of the One who created life. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11: 28-29 What can you do to spend more time with Jesus?
As you meet with friends and family over the holiday, discuss how you can apply these questions every day of the coming year.
What do you think?