Saturday, December 10, 2005

Maybe the Christmas Season is Supposed to be Stressful

Yesterday, while i was constantly rushing to get things done in time and always feeling 2 steps behind where i needed to be, I realized that the "Christmas Season" has always been stressful, right from its beginning. The very first Christmas was preceded by a very difficult time of preparation: Mary, pregnant for the first time, newly married, probably being judged and gossipped about, having to take a long road trip at an extremely inconvenient time. To top it all off, the trip was to pay taxes, of all things, not for vacation. Imagine Christmas season and tax season rolled into one!

Which all makes me wonder, what if the time leading up to Christmas is actually supposed to be stressful? I'm sure most preachers have preached about how we shouldn't let the busyness of Christmas obscure it's real meaning - our church's play this year is even about that. We really do have this idea that busyness and stress is something that's not supposed to be a part of Christmas, something we managed to add as our culture messed Christmas up.

But what if the greatness of Christmas is such that it is necessarily preceded by struggle? There had to be slavery for there to be an Exodus. There had to be sin for there to be a redemption. Or maybe it's just that Christmas is so wonderful that Satan will always try to make it diffucult for us to get there.

Of course we can overdo it. Of course we can invest ourselves in things that really aren't worth the effort. Of course we can get caught up in meeting other people's expectations, rather than doing those things that are really meaningful.

But maybe, if we're stressed and overwhelmed, it's not necessarily because we're doing it wrong. Maybe it means we're doing it right.

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