5 Posts to Help Holiday Stress

Everyday life is full of disappointment and mistakes, so why on earth do we expect the holidays to be any different?

Because we were made for perfection, once upon a time in Eden, our hearts still long for that experience of untarnished peace, unguarded relationships and unequaled love; so we attempt to create a semblance of what we image perfect must be at Christmas. Lavishly we try to satisfy that God-made longing through gifts and food and decorations, hoping all those other difficult people will on this one day be transformed! Not me of course.

And sadly we fail in all kinds of ways.

It seems at Christmas more than any other time of year we place our hopes in everything but the first Christmas gift, Jesus Himself. The tinsel and tissue and trimmings distract us from the Babe in the manger.

Here are five of our best posts to help you keep your eyes fixed on Jesus.

“Social media is happily dispensing enthusiasm, emotion and eager anticipation for the holiday season.  The vivid descriptions and images of fireplaces and cocoa, plaids and sequins, lights and laughter feel like an attempt to scatter glitter through every screen into my lap.

Be warm, be filled, be happy.  Let the dazzling delights of the season satisfy, they declare.

But for many of us the holiday sparkle intensifies our pangs of loneliness and grief, as if each piece of glitter is a tiny painful shard of glass.” Read more here. 

“Dear Barbara,

This is our year to spend Christmas with my husband’s family and I’m dreading it. How can I still enjoy the holiday while spending it with difficult in-laws?

I remember when Dennis and I married, I was beyond excited to spend the rest of my life with him. I can bet you felt that way on your wedding day too. The part that we often overlook when we say those vows to our husband is that we’re also committing ourself to his family too. 

That’s hard because it’s not like his family takes you on dates, woos you with words, cares selflessly for you, and commits to love you unconditionally. And to be completely honest, we don’t typically take those sacrificial and winsome steps toward our relationship with our in-laws either.” Read more here.

It’s the season!

Your head is spinning with preparations: shopping, cooking, invitations, fundraisers, junk mail, holiday cards and parties.

And this is above and beyond the regular stuff on your plate- sports teams, concerts, work deadlines, school projects.

And there’s the unexpected- a child’s broken leg, another ear infection, a friend in crisis.

For many there’s another source of underlying stress – your in-laws or parents are coming for the holidays – or you are going to be with them!

You may be anticipating this visit with great joy or with a bit of dread. It all depends on your relationships with them. Either way, however, simply having extra adults or extra children around will bring extra confusion and increase the level of stress.

Four tips will help make these holidays good for everyone.Read more from my friend Susan Yates here.

“How do you focus on creating a magical holiday experience for your children, your family, when your teenaged son or daughter is struggling with identity, acting out their confusion and fears? And you, Mom, are taking the brunt of it.

Your parents are getting a divorce, and though you are married with a child of your own, the shredding of their vows is ripping your heart more deeply than you thought possible.

Your brother’s wife has cancer, your friend’s grown son isn’t speaking to his parents, and if you think about the oppression and deception in the world you want to pull a blanket over your head and hide. When I want to run away, and I do at times, I remember David felt the same way, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest” (Psalm 55:6). Today, as I write this, I wish for an escape.

Making holidays merry is a woman’s, a mom’s, duty. Right?” Read more here.

“My stepson Will and daughter-in-law, Kirsten, were driving in from Dallas to stay at our house over Christmas for several days. Even though my husband, Robbie, and I had been married for a couple of years, this was the first time for them to visit during the holidays.

I was nervous.

Christmas is full of sorrow in a blended family. For our family it means grieving the previous loss of both spouses. So my presence at Christmas is just added salt to the wound for my oldest stepson and his wife, who was very close to her mother-in-law.

I have another stepson, a teenager, who lives with us, and with whom I have formed a cordial relationship. I dare say we even like each other. But Will and Kirsten haven’t been in our home on a day-to-day basis, getting to know me and my kids. So “coming home” doesn’t really exist for them, even though they are with members of their biological family.” Read more from my friend Sabrina MacDonald here.

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