Every year at some point over the Christmas period you turn on the radio or the TV and will hear someone telling you about how for many people Christmas is the most stressful time of year. You'll hear the chat about how all the busyness of Christmas just gets to be a bit too much for some people (even with Asda or Morrison's help) and they end up feeling like Christmas is a chore to be got through. They end up worrying about how they will cope with Christmas, how they will afford Christmas, how they will get everything ready and how they will make everyone get along. Christmas becomes the cloud on the horizon which effectively ruins the month before and the month after (at least). Many might say that the day is worth it but I reckon a fair few would not.
Now I have to admit I've never got this. I love Christmas. I love time off work. I love everyone else being off work. I love that feeling of being warm inside whilst it's cold outside. For me Christmas is absolutely fantastic and not at all stressful in any way. I mean really what is there to get stressed about? Then it dawned on me the reason that Christmas is not like this for me is that I don't actually do anything for Christmas. I tend to go to someone else's house, I eat food they have cooked and I give presents my wife has bought (and hopefully wrapped - otherwise they get them in a plastic bag). You see the reason Christmas is so brilliant for me is not cause I've found a way to make it really easy but because someone else does all this stuff so that I don't have to.
The great truth about Christmas is that Christmas is the time we remember when God came down to earth to do the stuff which we needed to do but couldn't. You see if Christmas is often too much then life is all the more so. The pressure of trying to be the success we want to be, of trying to be the husband/father that we ought to be, of being as good, as fun, as popular as we want to be can often feel not only stressful but overwhelming.
The Bible teaches that the reason we can't be the people we so desperately long to be is because we have rejected God and tried to do life ourselves. The problem is that try as hard as we like we lack the resources to do life as it should be. We lack the understanding, the wisdom and the will power to be the people we long to be so we keep striving and we keep getting more and more stressed about our failings. People so often think Christianity is just about giving us a spur to try harder but it's not. Christianity is about remembering that God came down to earth in the person of Jesus so that we could stop rejecting God and through accepting the work he did for us find a new way of doing life. A way which doesn't make us stress out about all that we have to do but which rejoices in what Jesus has done for us and allows him to transform not our external actions but the whole focus of our lives.
So you can keep trying and keep stressing out about life or you can remember what Christmas is all about - the fact that because Jesus came you don't have to do it all yourself.