This Christmas there can be so many stressors that would try to steal our peace.
Instead of allowing them to take the happy out of our holidays and merry from our Christmas, let’s reclaim our peace by centering back on the One we are truly celebrating this season, Jesus Christ.
After all, we can’t sing about sending Joy to the world if we’re stressed over every detail of holiday planning and ready to run our relatives back to the airport.
Isn’t it ironic that we can become so overwhelmed in the same season we are celebrating Jesus, the Prince of Peace?
I know that even today I felt the assaults of stress, the missiles of pressure to manplease, and the darts of unwittingly hurtful words come against my heart.
Multiple times I had to put up my faith and confidence in God’s love for me up like a shield against these incessant attacks. I encourage you today to do the same.
Our hearts are worth defending.
But no one can do it for us. In contrast many others, even loved ones, will with words or actions mistakenly hurt our hearts. That is why the word instructs us to guard our hearts because out of them flows every issue in our life (Proverbs 5:23).
The holidays are a time we surround ourselves with family and friends we may have not seen in months or even years. There is the initial time of excitement as we see that baby cousin that overnight has grown into a full fledged teenager, our brother who may have returned from training at the military, the sister who returned from college.
Yet after a few days we may find ourselves slowly transitioning from abounding excitement over every newfound detail in our loved one’s lives to a decreasing enthusiasm for their presence or increasing desire to go back to our familiar comfort zones.
Some of us are reminded of hurts of our past, annoyances with siblings, or unresolved issues with parents. All of this coupled with preparing for a major holiday can bring stress to anyone.
Below I’ve listed 7 indicators that you may be in a potentially stressful holiday environment:
1. You are visiting family and there are relatives there that you have unresolved issues with.
2. You are expected to procure gifts for friends or family that you can’t afford.
3. You are expected to cook the majority of the food without adequate support or resources.
4. You are bringing a romantic friend, fiancé, or spouse that your family has not met yet or has already expressed disapproval of.
5. You have not been in communication with your family and are seeing them for the first time in a long time.
6. You are introverted and are expected to go to several holiday parties and/or meet many new people.
7. You have little time or energy but are attempting to see many people while in town.
You may have found yourself in one or several of the categories above, but take heart! Even in the midst of holiday stressors, it is possible for you to find and maintain peace with yourself and others.
Now, Here are 7 tips for you to reclaim Peace this Christmas:
1. Set boundaries.
Boundaries are so important to achieve thriving relationships. They can be difficult to initially set, but once you do the relationship becomes that much healthier. If a family member or friend has been overstepping boundaries this holiday season, let them know speaking the truth in love.
2. Be honest with your loved ones.
If your family or friends are doing or saying things that are hurtful to you, open up and let them know. Chances are they don’t realize that you don’t get a hoot out of still being called “Big head” anymore.
3. Ask for help.
We have not because we ask not (James 4:2-3). Remember, you are not superwoman! Leave superwoman in the marvel comics and don’t try to bring her into your kitchen this Christmas. Ask for help. Even though you may be able to do it faster alone, you’ll feel more fulfilled and supported allowing others to join in.
4. Introduce anyone you are bringing to everyone in the family.
You don’t want it to get to the point where someone has to finally ask, “who are you?” to the special friend you’ve brought along.
If you are bringing a romantic friend, fiancé, or spouse to the family they haven’t met, help them and your family feel more comfortable and introduce them right away. It can go a long way in diffusing a potentially awkward situation.
5. Own up to past or present mistakes.
When we open up to our mistakes we literally begin to experience emotional and spiritual healing. If there are any open wounds between you and anyone else this Christmas don’t allow it to steal the beauty of community and family. Own up to where you were wrong and ask for forgiveness, moving forward in love.
6. Allow time for Rest.
Many of us are coming home for the holidays from busy schedules, intense work loads, and final exams and will be returning to this after the holiday break. Let go of any pressure to attend every holiday party or go to every event. Make time for rest, you’ll need it to start your new year rejuvenated and refreshed!
7. Set your eyes on Jesus.
This holiday season we have to refocus on the man we are truly celebrating. Above anything else, the food, the gifts, the glamour, the festivities, Christmas is about a King that came to the world to bring salvation to those who were dying and desperate for a savior.
It’s when we look into His piercing, fiery eyes that life’s equilibrium finds its balance once again.
Today, whatever holiday stressors may be surrounding you, remember the true reason for this season, and reclaim your peace.
Have a Merry Christmas from my family to yours!
Feel free to comment below! How do you plan on reclaiming peace this Christmas? Was this article helpful in eliminating your holiday stressors?