How do I focus on faith, complete the Christmas to-do list, and still be loving towards my family?
I love the Christmas season. It’s a time to focus on the birth of Jesus and the gift of salvation. It’s filled with excitement, flashing lights and endless activities.
However, it’s also a season of stress in many homes. From extra financial obligations to trying to keep extended family happy, the joy of this season can quickly be replaced with stress.
Many of us spend the Christmas season focusing on the story of Jesus’s birth. We read through advent devotionals and focus on the chapters in Matthew and Luke detailing His birth.
If we focus enough on the story of Jesus, all the other stress of the season melts away, right? Well, not always. The distractions of this season are strong!
How can a Christian mom focus on Jesus, show her children the excitement of the season, love on her family and not completely be lost in stress?
5 Things Every Mom Needs To Remember This Christmas
In order to truly celebrate Christmas, we need to know about Jesus’s birth. Every other aspect of Christmas celebration is purely in vain if we’re not focused on Jesus. Even though many of us know about the birth of Jesus, we still find ourselves stressed and missing out on true joy this season.
Aside from knowing the true Christmas story, how does a Christian mom avoid excess stress during this season?
I think one way we can avoid excess stress is by focusing on Biblical truths. The Bible doesn’t just depict historical accounts of Jesus, it contains all the wisdom we need for living out our faith.
Consider Philippians 4:8-9 which says:
“Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Focusing on Biblical truths and wisdom can help limit unnecessary stress.
#1: Focus On Truths – Your True Identity Is In Christ
Every home celebrates Christmas differently. Even Christian homes vary in regards to which modern Christmas traditions they take part in. I’m not talking about truths regarding Santa Claus or magic elves. I’m talking about the lies and doubts which bring stress.
The most important truth of this season is that you are fully redeemed in Christ if you’ve accepted Him. Your worth is not found in Pinterest worthy Christmas cookies. Your value is not found in compliments from in-laws.
Commercials and ads tell us what we need to purchase to have a happy Christmas morning. However, the truth is that true joy is only found in Christ.
The next time you’re stressed looking at your gift budget, your cookies come out less than perfect, and your efforts to host a family dinner go unnoticed, meditate on the truth that your true identity is in Christ and your joy (and your family’s) is found in Him.
#2: Be Just In Your Actions – Don’t Let The Stress of This Season Impact Your Family
I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed out I tend to be less patient with my husband and children. As soon as I snap over something silly my child does for no reason beyond my own stress, I immediately feel my stress rise even more.
I find myself stuck in a cycle of stress. I’m stressed out so I have less patience, my lack of patience makes me feel more stressed, and then my stress continues to rise.
Be conscious about what you’re focusing on. If you’re meditating on truths, it’s easier to keep your stress down. When you’re managing your stress in God’s strength, it’s easier to remain just in how you interact with your family.
Still stressed? Pray for wisdom and patience to continue to act justly towards your family even during high stress times.
#3: Intentions Matter – Focus On Pure Thoughts And Actions
Being redeemed in Christ doesn’t mean we don’t struggle with our thoughts and actions. Modern motherhood can be filled with a silent (or not so silent) competition.
Even some extended families like to try and give the best gift to look better. Even within marriage, some partners will try to one up each other in a way that divides, rather than to bless each other.
This isn’t to say we shouldn’t do our best or give our best. It comes down to our hearts. Are you giving to keep up or one up, or are you giving with the intention of blessing someone?
When you focus on the truth that your worth is found in God, when you remember true joy is only found in God and not things, you can reduce the stress of seeking to be perfect this holiday season.
#4: Practice Loving Actions
How does acting loving reduce stress? Doesn’t this become another to-do on the list, to be hyper conscious of your behavior?
To me, this is similar to #2, unloving behavior can be the result of unmanaged stress, and the consequences of unloving behavior can increase stress. It becomes a cycle of stress that impacts our relationships.
This excerpt from Barnes’ Notes On The Bible really highlights what lovely means here:
“Whatsoever things are lovely – The word used here means properly what is dear to anyone; then what is pleasing. Here it means what is amiable – such a temper of mind that one can love it; or such as to be agreeable to others.
A Christian should not be sour, crabby, or irritable in his temper – for nothing almost tends so much to injure the cause of religion as a temper always chafed; a brow morose and stern; an eye that is severe and unkind, and a disposition to find fault with everything.
And yet it is to be regretted that there are many persons who make no pretensions to piety, who far surpass many professors of religion in the virtue here commended. A sour and crabby temper in a professor of religion will undo all the good that he attempts to do.”
If you’re wondering how meditating on loving actions will reduce holiday stress, it comes down to reaping the benefits of a positive attitude in your home. When we are walking according to God’s calling for us, we are better able to focus on the eternal and not the temporal.
Focusing on eternal things reduces our stress as we prioritize what occupies our mind.
#5: Be Full Of Praise
When we focus on praising God for who He is and for what He’s done to allow true relationship with Him, it’s hard to be stressed.
It’s easy to focus on the temporal things we feel are lacking in our lives. Seeking peace and joy in temporal things leads us to thinking if we just finish the shopping list, make the perfect cookies, and do all the Pinterest worthy Christmas activities our lives and our family’s lives will be filled with joy.
The reality, things rarely work out perfectly. Our children may still be grumpy despite all the gifts under the tree. Our extended family may not see all the effort put into the holiday meal. If we seek our joy in external things, we will remain stressed throughout the Christmas season.
If we use this season to meditate and praise God for the gift of salvation, regardless of how our holiday activities go, and despite a lack of acknowledgement of hard work, we can still have peace this season.
The Most Important Reminder: We Know The God Of Peace
We celebrate Christmas not because of gifts and food, but because the first Christmas brought us the opportunity to accept salvation. The first Christmas gives us the ability to have a personal relationship with the God of peace.
When we meditate on and act out Biblical principles, the God of peace is with us.
“The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”
Sweet, stressed mama, during this Christmas season remember to lean on God and focus on the most important gift we’ve ever received: salvation.