Tis the season for many things merry, but if we are honest we’d admit that this is the season for stress and anxiety too. We experience financial stress, relational stress, physical stress, and emotional stress. I’m actually getting stressed out just writing this and I’m sure that your mind has put one or two examples of personal anxiety in your head as you’re reading. This season is rooted in joy and hope, yet for some of us it becomes just the opposite. As parents, we have a lot of extra stuff added to our already busy schedules and this usually doesn’t create “holly jolly” feelings. If we are brutally honest, we might even say that the added pressure to be “jolly” actually adds to our anxiety. Now before we go and pull the arms off the Elf on the Shelf, let’s take a look at how children approach this season.
Children rule Christmas! They fully embrace the many blessings of the season – no school, free gifts, yummy treats, friends, fun, family, and the hope for lots of snow. Our kids embrace the blessings without a care in the world. After all, kids don’t need to worry about paying the credit card bill, cooking the food, or even shoveling the snow. Maybe we would be much merrier if we had someone take care of all the hard work of Christmas for us – or maybe not. Christmas joy is not about eliminating all external sources of stress, but of focusing on the internal reason for the true hope of Christmas. Christ came to earth to rescue us from hopelessness and his mission was victorious! Can you sense the great joy in the Apostle Paul’s words in Romans 8:38-39 (NLT) which says, “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
The truth, whether we feel it or not, is that God loves us as his dear children. Christmas is a time for us to reflect on God’s great love; a love that drove him to become one of us – to be with us. Yes, we are crazy busy this time of year, but even in that busyness, we can feel joy. We can take a lesson from our kids, who soak in the joys of the season because their parents who love them are caring for their needs. Our heavenly father cares for our needs too, and I believe that giving him our Christmas stress will allow us to fully embrace all the little blessings he has in store for us this season. The Apostle Peter sums this up so well in 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT) which says, “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” My prayer for all us parents this year is that we would have the mentality of our kids and rule Christmas because the Ruler of the Universe, Emmanuel, is with us.