Last week, Des Walsh shared some great lessons regarding stress…a quite fitting topic to share as we approach the week of Christmas! I can’t think of any time of the year that isn’t typically more stressful than this one.
Of course, the stress comes from different directions: there are end-of-year pressures and deadlines that many of us need to meet in our work. There are celebrations to plan; Christmas appreciations that need to go out, whether they are token gifts or simple greeting cards. We want our friends to be acknowledged, and wish them warm regards and greetings (perhaps through an annual Christmas party). And of course there are the biggest considerations typically regarding family, immediate and extended. Indeed, Christmas is usually celebrated with one’s family and loved ones.
And yet, why are we so stressed this time of year? It’s also the time, when faced with a new task or opportunity, we often ask ourselves: “Can it wait till after the holidays?”
Believe it or not, as much as I often become annoyed with this question (admittedly, when it conflicts with my own personal agenda), I think it’s still a fair question to ask. We all have to set our priorities. Each day we make decisions on what to focus on NOW, and what to set aside for later, based upon those priorities. And perhaps that is what becomes a source of stress for many of us…because we know that we can’t please everyone, all the time.
A few weeks ago, we held a candle-lit mass at my church to celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception. In his homily, our pastor talked about the idea of slowing down for a moment, and giving pause in this hectic “holiday” season. I thought it was a fitting lesson, and a mass celebrated entirely by candle light truly sent the message home.
I truly hope you are taking time out this Christmas to be mindful of those things–and people–who are most important. Often, we can forget to do this as we go about the busy-ness of the year. This prompting to slow down for a moment, to remember and acknowledge, is perhaps one of the greatest gifts the season–and our Savior–brings.
May you and yours have a merry and blessed Christmas.