Our oldest son is experiencing for the first time how stressed out people can get this time of year. He is completing an internship at a financial institution in customer service, investments. He says people are crowding in to cash out and/or settle estates while extended family is “in for the holidays.” He describes the scene as sometimes bordering on panic but hey, these extended family members have avoided extra plane tickets, missing days at school, or were able to save vacation days for a longer visit now because they didn’t make that extra trip earlier in the year. Good motivation if you think about it. Many of us do the same thing just about different content. For example, decorating, cooking, and last-minute purchases. We run to grocery stores instead of the bank because we forgot potatoes or special foods that Aunt Millie needs because of food allergies.
There are health issues relating to all this. Besides the risk for heart attacks, of which there are plenty this time of year, we can exacerbate our anxiety and propensity for depression. We chant, “I’ll never get it all done” and “I’ll never be able to do it right just like all Christmas’s past and no one will appreciate how hard I’ve worked anyway.” We can trigger manic episodes because we send ourselves in that direction with the anxiety and subsequent rushing around. We can allow our obsessive-compulsive tendencies to dictate our mood because we believe everything is supposed to be “just perfect.” Does it need to be “just perfect?”
Jesus is born. He doesn’t care if all gifts are purchased and decorations are up. He may care that you take care of Aunt Millie’s diet needs as best as you can because that is loving. He may care that we all remember to say a prayer for members of our family who have experienced a great loss this year or who are on the other side of the country alone because of circumstances. We may want to call them on Christmas day. He may care that we remember medical and emergency personnel, police, and firefighters that will be extra busy because people are panicking over nothing. He may care that we be gracious to the people around us, especially those servicing our perceived last minute needs like my son will be tomorrow Christmas Eve until 3 p.m.
Jesus is born. Our Redeemer is born. If after pausing to remember this your mind still can’t shift from the panic, watch and listen to this video. It will help you gain perspective.