A Stress-free Christmas
“And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10 ESV
Christmas joy is available to “all the people.” That includes the young, the old, the rich and the poor, so you are included. Here are some suggested stress relievers that will help you experience more joy this Christmas season.
1. Focus on Jesus
Christmas is His birthday and we celebrate Jesus whose birth provided us with the gift of joy. Our circumstances might be difficult, but joy is still available as a gift from Jesus. Lift your eyes to Jesus and consider all that He has done for you by faith. Jesus can identify with us as we face unfair and difficult circumstances,
“yet for the joy set before Him, he endured the cross” (Hebrews 12:2)
Focus on the wonder of the cross, the sacrifice of Mary and Joseph, while they were welcoming the greatest gift to mankind in history.
2. Focus on Giving
Don’t let the commercialization of Christmas rob you of the joy. Give your time. Give your attention. Give your heart. Realize that in the midst of the hustle and bustle, God is working and He has a purpose for you. Who is to say that your biggest assignment from Jesus might be loving the person who cut in front of you at Starbucks. Become more like Jesus by considering
“others as more important than yourself. (Philippians 2:3)
3. Take the Focus Off of Others
Lower your expectations of others and your joy quotient will go up. There is always someone who will disappoint you, but that does not mean that you have to lose your joy because of them. Let them off your hook. Choose to extend grace in advance.
Forgive those who forget to send you a Christmas Card or a thank you note for the cookies you brought.
Even the best people will disappoint, so don’t focus on people, focus on what you can do to bring joy and let go of your expectations of other.
4. Confess Your Sinfulness
As long as we are knit-picking others, we fail to see our own need for the amazing gift of grace and forgiveness from God. Take time to evaluate your life, consider all the ways that you come short. Are you harboring anger? Do you have an attitude toward Uncle Merkemer because of something he did a year ago? Focus on your need to release the bitterness or the anger of the resentment and rededicate yourself to being a conduit of God’s love and grace. It starts with your willingness to receive forgiveness and grace, before you can extend it to others.
Joy and peace come when we spend time in the presence of God, releasing our concerns and fears and anxiety to him. Rather than fretting over the day’s political scandal or Tweet, use it as an opportunity to pray in all circumstances to the one who can do much more than you can.
God isn’t wringing His hands in heaven saying, “I had no idea this would happen.”
“What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:9 ESV
God doesn’t promise us that He will fix all of our circumstances, but He does promise that He will be with us. That is where the joy and peace come from. If God is for us, who can be against us? He goes with us “through the valley of the shadow of death.” Jesus is “Immanuel” God with us! Jesus is in your boat, even as the storm rages on the sea… oh you of little faith!
The presence of Jesus is enough for you to experience all the joy and peace that you need in this crazy world.
What would you add to this list?
5 Suggestions for Finding More Joy at Christmas