Christmas stress quiz, plus four ideas to help you chill out
Saying that we want to focus on Jesus during Christmas and actually doing it are two separate things. The doing is the hard part—there are a lot of things filling up our minds, and many of them are stressful (thank you very much holiday travel and long lines at the stores).
So let’s do a heart-check, K?
Take this Christmas stress quiz:
- On a scale of 1 to 10, how stressed are you right now? (For reference, 1 is a sandy beach vacation feeling and 10 is absentmindedly pulling out your eyebrows.)
- Which is your first reaction when encountering a crowded grocery store: "MOVE OVER PEOPLE! Why can’t you push your cart to the side of the aisle already? This isn’t rocket science!!!" —OR— "Ah, there’s the cinnamon."
- Approximately how many times this past week have you done one or more of the following: binge-eaten Christmas cookies in secret, hidden from relatives or coworkers in the bathroom, threatened to “cancel Christmas” for the kids, or experienced a not-so-flattering emotional meltdown?
I think you know what your answers reveal. If you scored high on the stress scale, the following four ideas can help relieve tension and re-center your focus on Jesus (and maybe salvage your eyebrows). If you scored low like a cool cucumber, these four ideas will help you, too. In fact, you’re probably already doing some of them.
Four ideas to slow down and re-center on Jesus during Christmas
First, plan for rest
Resting is one of the simplest yet most difficult things to schedule into your week—but worth it. God set aside a full day of rest for his week, and Jesus took time away from his ministry and friends for solitude and rest. Make a plan to block off time in your daily/weekly routine to stop doing things already and rest in his presence and in the company of loved ones instead.
Play music, light candles, dance, sing, enjoy nature—find unique ways that open your heart to the Spirit’s presence and do them often.
In a culture that preaches self-reflection and fulfillment, there are few things more centering than revisiting Jesus’ epic story as told from Genesis through Revelation. When we get to see how many references to Jesus show up in the pages of the Old Testament (highlighted in blue letters in the Jesus-Centered Bible), plus how frequently he speaks to us through devotions, we're reminded afresh about what life’s really about (hint: it’s not about us).
Connect with others
Jesus was clear about what he wanted our priorities to be: to love God and love others. Regarding the latter, let’s make a point to pay ridiculous attention to those he’s placed in our lives today. We can do this by praying about who Jesus wants us to connect to and by taking our interactions deeper whenever possible (e.g. calling or meeting in person instead of texting or replying on social media).
Using this last idea as a springboard, spend 5 minutes making a quick list of people Jesus is leading you to connect to right now. Use this as your prayer list for the next week.