Thursday, November 29, 2012

Stress Free Christmas, Regaining Joy

I will lift up my eyes to the hills—
From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the LORD,
Who made heaven and earth.

He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, He who keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.

(Psalm 121 1-4; NKJV)

Holiday seasons provide for some, joy, and others discouragement. You might also agree that Christmas creates a deal of tension too, especially if one feels their life is ravished by a relentless storm of stresses. Stuff can overshadow our joy in celebrating the birth of our Savior. Here are a few of those pressures, which can rob our Christmas joy:

  • A strenuous relationship
  • Lack of finances
  • Overdue bills
  • Utilities being shut off
  • Children out of control
  • The car needing new tires
  • Your house foreclosed
  • Someone is gravely sick in your family
  • Your marriage is holding on by a thread
  • Appliances are breaking down at the same time
  • Losing your job
  • Loss of a loved one

I could wallow with a list of stuff, which creates chaos in the midst of our Holiday celebration and our life day to day; but I'll spare you . . . because you already know. It's obvious what we should do when we're not in the spirit of things but often we forget.

Who to Know

I’m reminded today that trusting in myself or in any other venue to zap away my problems, is beyond my capabilities. I cannot muster up joyful blitz and be happy, happy, happy. However; if I look to the source, which is greater and stronger than I . . . something is bound to change from the inside out.

Psalm 121 reminds us that looking to a place, which seems stronger or more solid is useless. The only concrete place is for us to seek respite in the LORD, who is our help in times of desperation, confusion, and frustration.

I know you know this but it's worth repeating—when the word LORD is all caped, it means The Almighty God—the one who made heaven and earth. Think for a moment of your struggles and how they can dampen your Christmas spirit. Now place those issues in the knowledge of God’s power to fashion heaven and earth and all that is in them.

Your problems should appear microscopic. If they don’t, then we need to work on our knowing the God of creation and his love.

Quoting God from Isaiah 48:13, he said, “It was my hand that laid the foundations of the earth, my right hand that spread out the heavens above. When I call out the stars, they all appear in order.”

A Can do God

I so lack faith in the power of a God who “. . .is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, . . .” (Eph. 3: 20-21; NASB).

Did you catch that? God works "according to the power that works within us." That big mighty God resides in us and works through us.

I find it easy to look at my problems, to obsess on them, to allow them to linger in my mind until I'm stressed to high heaven. All the while forgetting the ALL powerful God, who has given me his personal customer service number: Just-A-prayer-away.

Not only is God exceedingly abundantly able but we have his promise that he will not allow our foot to be moved. We will not stumble, though we feel we're being swept away with a landslide at a hundred miles an hour.

He is able to keep us and aid us in overcoming our lack of faith, for when we are faithless, he is faithful. Every day with God is a new day to live in his unending mercies. To not wave that middle finger or call the person, who just took your parking spot after you circled around for an hour, a donkey. God gives us a new day to change our character and to build our faith in his ability to help us overcome the challenges and struggles we face.

He is watching over us, and not from afar. God is up close and personal with each one of his children, we were grafted into his family by faith in the Living Christ—the very reason we celebrate Christmas. God is a father, a parent, a caregiver, a promise keeper.

God does not sleep or slumber. He cares for us. Nothing or no one can withstand his power. He is the Almighty Living God who gave us the gift of himself, to both Jews and Gentiles alike.

As you consider your trials, look beyond the mountain and see the omnipotent God who is ready to show his great love, care, and power. That’s what I’m setting my heart on doing.

I want the rejuvenating joy of why we celebrate Christmas to rise a melody within my soul, no matter what is going on around me.

Gracious Father,

How wonderful to know that you, LORD, will run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show yourself strong toward those whose heart is loyal to you. Make our hearts loyal. And in spite of our current circumstances, cause us to look beyond our problems and see you, the one who made heaven and earth and to see with our hearts the message of Christmas.

Help us to let our worries, stress, hopelessness, depression, anger, and fear be swallowed by the greatness of who You are. Let truth, faith, and love ring in our hearts as we prepare to celebrate and remember the gift of you incarnate in Jesus Christ.

In Our Savior's Name, Amen.

 1) Image credit: <a href=''>macropixel / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

2) Image credit: <a href=''>ginosphotos / 123RF Stock Photo</a>


  1. Hi Diane, Great article and a real encouragement. Looking forward to reading some of your other articles on mental illness also. we have and adopted daughter that has some mental challenges. Ron Rudd

  2. Ron, I'm glad you enjoyed this article. It is so easy to overlook the hope and joy of Christmas. I do hope you will find some good encouragement on my Not Losing Heart blog as well.

    May your Christmas will be filled with joy and peace!