I love Christmas, a time of celebration, joy and hope. It reminds us there is a narrative greater than the world’s ills; God has come to earth to initiate a rescue, to bring hope to those who are hopeless, to restore relationships, to reunite His family… so why the STRESS?!
Across the world there is a longing to be back “home”. Although miles may separate us throughout the year, we look forward to the family reunion. Yet in spite of the great expectations, or perhaps because of them, Christmas can be a time of unparalleled stress.
It’s painful when geography or a death mean you can’t be with those you most want. It can affect how you interact with those around you. Personalities can clash having the extended family together, in a confined space for a prolonged period. Harsh words, even spoken in jest, can cut deep and open old wounds.
If the expectations we have of others are not met this can result in disappointment and hurt. If we are unable to meet the expectations others place on us we can feel that pressure.
The Christmas period should be one where we can experience the joy of giving. Somehow, this has been turned into the expectation of receiving. We easily build and perpetuate a culture where love is measured by the size of the credit-card debt, regardless of our means.
If something will be an issue for you over the festive period take action now. Talk with your spouse. Identify each other’s biggest stresses; how can you manage them together?
Take a moment to think, “What can I do to reduce our stress levels this Christmas?”
- The earlier you tell the kids, “We don’t have enough money to do [something], but we can do [something else] instead.” the better.
- Perhaps if hosting a big meal you may need to ask some of your guests to assist.
So, here’s wishing you a joyful Christmas!