Christmas is a beautiful and amazing time of the year—at time to celebrate the birth of Christ. One of the ways we do that is by giving and receiving gifts. But we live in a society where “being too busy” is applauded. And so it’s very easy to get wrapped up in the buying and the planning and the “business” of Christmas. Ironically, when the day finally arrives, we’re unable to enjoy it!
If you’re like me, you have something better in mind. You know that fullness of joy is found not in presents, but in God’s presence (see Psalm 16:11). That’s the magic of Christmas that makes us come alive! …So slow down, get quiet, and take time to soak in God’s presence.
Problems will arise and people will frustrate and/or disappoint you. There is no way to be alive and avoid that. But you can balance out the bad with the good by spending quality time with God and indulging in a few of the simpler pleasures of the season.
If you find yourself struggling with too much intensity, try a few of these simple “recipes” for a less stressful, more fulfilling celebration.
1. Take a deep breath.
The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. —Job 33:4 (NIV)
2. Read something uplifting.
…Turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body. —Proverbs 4:20-22 (NIV)
3. Listen to praise and worship music.
Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. —Psalm 100:2 (NIV)
4. Go to bed on time (maybe even a little early).
It is vain for you to rise up early, to take rest late, to eat the bread of [anxious] toil—for He gives [blessings] to His beloved in sleep. —Psalm 127:2
5. Spend time with a close friend.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. —Galatians 6:2 (NIV)
6. Enjoy a delicious, nutritious meal.
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well. —3 John 1:2 (NIV)
7. Write down your worries…then throw them away.
Casting the whole of your care [all your anxieties, all your worries, all your concerns, once and for all] on Him, for He cares for you affectionately and cares about you watchfully. —1 Peter 5:7
8. Make a list of things you’re thankful for.
Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and the Mediator of that will]. —1 Thessalonians 5:18
9. Get outdoors for a while.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. —Psalm 19:1 (NIV)
10. Be playful and laugh a lot!
A cheerful heart is good medicine…. —Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)