17 December, 2005
Tis the season...
Well, we are full swing into that time of year... the time where we run until we drop, tempers flare, consumers fuss and fume and display anything but holiday cheer! Why do we do this to ourselves? We worry about if we have bought enough presents, or it is "the right" present. And during the last 10 days before Christmas, there just is not enough hours in the day to get it all done. People literally push themselves to the breaking point which causes stress and tension in not only their lives, but those around them.
Which leads to guys like me, the pastors, the counselors, being extremely busy this time of year too. No, I am not talking about getting the Christmas program together either... that's always another story in itself! People become so stressed out this time of year, and anxieties run sky high.
This past week, I have spent more time counseling with people than I have in the previous month combined. Virtually nothing I had planned to do this past week was accomplished, because I have been called away to deal with other people's stress and problems. Two days in a row I told church members that I would be out to the church "in a few minutes" to help with building the set for our Christmas program, but I never made it out to the church. Another pastor invited me to have lunch with him this week. I was busy that day so we rescheduled... again, and again... and I still have not had that lunch!
This can be construed as a post trying to make people feel sorry for the pastor, but that is not it at all. I don't mind helping people at all. This is what God has called me to do.
But I ask the question again; "Why do we do this to ourselves?"
The fact is, most of the problems I dealt with this week were brought on my stress, anxiety and tension that was brought on by the torrid demands people placed on themselves during this season. I fear... we really have forgotten what it is all about. We say we remember, but our lives betray us.
We need to learn to slow down. We need to realize we don't have to do it all and make every party or gathering. We don't have to find "the perfect gift." We need to go back to a much more simple time. Gift giving is fine, if done with moderation and reason. I read the other day that the average family will spend over $1000 this year in electronic gifts alone this year. Christmas has become big business, and we have allowed ourselves to be pulled right into that trap.
I challenge everyone to just slow down and make it a simple time again. And bring the Christ child back to the fore front of Christmas rather than an after thought.