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4 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

4 Tips for a Stress-Free Christmas

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it is often coupled with stress and anxiety. Why? Because we've forgotten the meaning of Christmas. When Jesus is missing, it's stressful.

So before you start on your shopping list, wrapping presents, or baking cookies; get realigned. The world would have us focus on commercialism and gluttony, but you and I know better. Spend some time focusing on the things - sorry, the One - who matters for a stress-free, merry Christmas.

Remember that It's All About Jesus

A few years ago my mother had an interesting conversation with a sales assistant. They chatted about the busyness of Christmas for a while, then the girl said, “But let’s not forget what Christmas is really about.” To which my mother replied, “Yes, celebrating the birth of Jesus.”

By the look of utter shock on the girl’s face, it was not what she had in mind.

Christmas is not about Santa, holidays, family, sharing, or whatever else you want to label it with. Christmas is a celebration of Jesus. His miraculous birth two thousand years ago, and his birth in our hearts, is the reason we celebrate Christmas.

When we look to man to make the season exciting, it does not measure up. God came as a baby. He is the most wonderful part of Christmas.

Each time family, food, and parties get too much, fix your eyes back on Jesus. The world may have forgotten, but we remember: Jesus is the reason for the season.

“Rejoice in the Lord, Always” Includes Christmas

“This child… will be a joy to many…” (Luke 2:34).

Feeling guilty because you haven’t written Christmas cards to anyone? Stressed to the max over Christmas lunch?

It's time to reclaim the joy of Jesus in the festive season. Jesus is joy to many, including you.

Joy is independent of outward circumstances. It rises from within and it is a choice. Be overwhelmed with joy or stress. You decide.

No matter how many turkeys you’ve destroyed, chocolates you’ve eaten, or family criticisms you’ve endured; rejoice in the Lord. Smile when another car takes your parking spot. Laugh when the Christmas lights blow a fuse. Things go wrong. Roll with it. Keep rejoicing in Jesus because you are celebrating him after all.

Lose the Selfishness

When Jesus Christ, King of kings, was born, he did not have a cot, expensive clothes, or even his own bedroom. He unobtrusively came into the world in a stable; amongst cattle, donkeys, and sheep. He made no demands, or at least that is how the song tells it.

You would think Christmas is a time where people lay aside their own demands, and bend over backwards to accommodate others. Sadly, selfishness has crept into Christmas. Not everyone remembers driving for hours, being nice to family, and having a great attitude is part of giving. It is becoming a season of what I want.

So what is the opposite of selfishness? Grace - undeserved favor. Selfish behavior often invokes anger and hostility, but such emotions exasperate the issue. Give the gift of grace and watch selfishness vanish.

The first person I encourage you to give grace to is yourself. It is easier to give grace to others when you are out from the cloud of condemnation. By the way, not only does grace combat selfish behavior, it also does wonders for stress.

Give Wonderful Gifts

Thank God for this gift too wonderful for words! (2 Corinthians 9:15).

Ah, the pressure of giving the right gift. No matter how small, we all want our gifts to be appreciated and useful in someone's life. (I mean, no one wants their present it be re-gifted or exchanged.) But how do we give a gift too wonderful for words in our time-poor, over-indulged lives?

Try this: write more than Merry Christmas on the card. Pay attention to feelings and challenges of this past year, and write a word of encouragement. Speak with love and care. Your words will hands down beat any extravagance. Truly a gift too wonderful for words.

In the meantime, don't stress, you've got this. You can get through the busy season. Take a deep breath and focus on Jesus. Celebrate him and the rest will sort itself out.

I'm Sarah Coleman, an Aussie passionate about Jesus & family. Through blogs and books I minister life and encouragement. Download my FREE eBook, Be Amazing: You Know You Want To. Find more of my thoughts at sarahcoleman.com.au.

Publication date: December 9, 2014

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