Everywhere we look we see the push. We feel the effects.
It shows up in advertising. It flashes from store displays. It taunts you from your Pinterest home feed.
Our consumer-oriented culture pressures us to have the “perfect Christmas” by having it all and doing it all with flair!
When I was a young mom, Martha Stewart set the bar high. And I bought into it. The house had to be spotless and every room had to look – and smell – like Christmas. My wrapping paper all coordinated with the tree. We took family photos and wrote a letter to send with the Christmas card – and I had to handwrite a greeting in each and every one. I made overflowing plates of homemade Christmas goodies for friends and neighbors. And my annual “Christmas Coffee” was not to be missed!
I was overworked and overstressed.
Women today still feel the pressure. Pinterest and DIY are king! Today, tasty cookies just aren’t enough. They have to also look like Reindeer or melting snowmen. Don’t settle for red fingernails when they can look like candy canes. There’s no excuse for a bare mantel when dozens of ideas to turn it into a Christmas wonderland are at your fingertips. Oh, and no party is complete without a cheese platter shaped like a Christmas tree.
Any of that sound familiar?
Busyness is nothing new. It was also a problem in the first century. Jesus had a friend named Martha who was too busy to spend time with Him. Once when He visited her home, she was too busy to sit and listen to Him talk about the things of God.
The Bible tells us Martha was “distracted by all the preparations” (Luke 10:40) she thought had to be made for Jesus’ visit. The Greek word translated as “distracted” in the NIV means “too busy, over-occupied, drawn away.” Martha wasn’t doing anything wrong or bad. She simply allowed all the “good things” to crowd out the best. She allowed the activity of the visit to replace the incredible opportunity she had to build relationship.
That’s exactly what many of us do during the Christmas season. We allow a lot of good activity to crowd out the true meaning of Christmas. Instead of worshiping, celebrating, and sharing the coming of our Savior we allow ourselves to be “over-occupied” with the trappings. Stress and exhaustion push out joy and peace.
In the next few blog posts, I’m going to share some of what God has taught me over the years about de-stressing Christmas. I will be honest with you, it’s still a battle. The ribbons and baking and glitter still tempt me. But overall, with God’s help, I have learned how to have a “less stress” Christmas so I can experience Jesus more.
What are some things – the busyness of the season – that tends to wrap you up and stress you out most?