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Christmas Stress or GODís Love?

Itís a dreary day; both in the weather and in your heart. Your grown kids arenít going to be there for Christmas which means neither will the grandkids and you mailed their packages weeks ago. You and your spouse havenít been getting along at all, and the car is making noises you donít recognize and know canít be good. Top all of that off with the fact that your Mother is undergoing treatment for cancer that is beatable and the prognosis is good, but that very word makes your heart go cold (as it does with most people).

Everyone is in a bad mood and the last time you spoke to your best friend she was distracted and you felt like she rather shrugged you off. You exchanged gifts ten days ago because she was going to be busy, but the day you spent together was filled with phone calls to and from her to others as she handled a crisis in her own Christmas plans.

You feel abandoned, alone, frustrated, stressed, fearful because it feels like no one is helping you handle any of this. Your shoulders are weighed down with the cares of the day and the house is decorated for Christmas and itís festive, but the sight of it just frustrates you more because you remember the good days when the kids were young and it was so joyful and so fun! Now, itís a chore, a day to drudge through and get over with and move on to putting it all away again.

Merry Christmas. Right?

The Christ child born so long ago, who was born to bring light and was the expression of GODís true love for you seems so far away and seems like a myth this year. He was there ten years ago, and a church filled with candles and song made it even more real. This year, you canít find anything of Him except the porcelain depiction in the nativity scene on the piano. Where is He? Where is His Father, the One who said He loves you?

Itís Christmas and itís miserable, but He is still here. He still loves you very dearly and heís still nearby, waiting for you to fall into His arms -- in exasperation or exaltation, He doesnít care Ė and He wants to catch you, hold you, comfort you. He wants to cradle you there and whisper His love into your heart and soul. He wants to reassure you that when He seems the farthest away, He is actually the closest to you, waiting for you to admit that you canít handle it and turn to Him.

GOD is a gentleman. He wonít force Himself upon you. He wonít make you turn to Him. He just waits, patiently, for you to stop handling it yourself and give it up to Him. He wants to handle it for you. He wants to take away the stress, worry, frustration, fear and replace all of that with peace, joy, contentment and love. He wonít push you to come to Him. He wonít invade your space. He wonít intrude upon your chaos until and unless He is invited in. He does love you and He waits and longs for you to call upon Him. Thereís the rub: YOU must call.

Itís Christmas. Youíre rushed, hurried, busy, stressed and frustrated. Nothing is going right and there is nothing that you can do to change it because other people are making things go wrong, changing plans, coming late, or not coming at all. You are not in control, but you want to be because you know that if things were the way that you wanted them, you would make it all right, merry, bright, and happy: perfection would be present yet again for Christmas.

Yet, if you donít feel all that wonderful about Christmas this year, know this: GOD LOVES YOU. He loves you and He wants to be invited in as your Christmas spirit falls to the wayside and your plans go awry. He wants to be the One who makes your Christmas the way it should be: focused on the Reason, not the season.

May I gently suggest that you take a few minutes to get to a quiet place and just turn to Him and tell Him all about it, then ask GOD into your Christmas schedule, your Christmas plan, and hand Him your Christmas stresses and frustrations? Ask GOD to take control of your Christmas and to take away what you wanted it to be, and make it into what He wants it to be. ďThe best laid plans of mice and men often go astrayĒ is the saying, and we all know how true that is. Thatís the thing: ďmice and menĒ make a mess of things, while GOD never has, never does and never will.

I encourage you to let go of your frustrations, cares, worries, stresses this Christmas and ask GOD to refocus your attention on His Son, the One given to save the world and to take all of the negatives out of your heart, and replace them with His love, patience and calm. Fall into His arms and relax into His comforting caress that will wash away the stress and frustration.

If you donít, your Christmas will be as lousy as you want it to be and it will not be something to look back on with joy and love. It will be the Christmas you would rather forget and not repeat. Thatís something Christmas should never be.

Itís Christmas. You have the choice of being stressed and frustrated for it, or of letting go of that and inviting GOD into your Christmas. I pray you will invite GOD into your Christmas and make it the Christ-mas it should be. Itís up to you. Please choose wisely.