It’s the Most Stressful Time of the Year

It’s the Most Stressful Time of the Year December 19, 2023

I recently changed internet providers. Going online and trying to cancel your previous internet provider is a daunting task as the  service guy your talking to wants to ask you all types off questions and offer you deals to get you to stay when all you want to do is cancel and go to bed cause your tired. Then you find out that your portable My Cloud is not connected to the new service and trying to find the way to do it is like trying to prepare for a calculus test. Also trying to re-hook up your google mini is equally as difficult. Oh the normal stresses of living in a technological age. These typical 21st century first world problems are occuring during probably one of the most stressful times for a lot of people. The joyous merry season of advent and secular Christmas.

If we can just make it through December,
the most stressful time of the year.

People are scurrying to get their Christmas presents bought and wrapped, shopping for the family dinner, decorating the house like Clark Griswold in Christmas Vacation, and trying to get those toys off to the tots or some other charitable thing you should do at Christmas. Bloggers and media influencers are trying to get that Christmas eve or day post written or filmed so they can post something merry and bright giving everyone a merry little Christmas on the night Santa brings his presents and the day Christ brings Joy to the World.  This particular Christmas, Catholics have to find a way to get to Mass twice in two days. Not as easy for some who might have to load up the car with several kids, or if you are actually working. Even Santa has the stress of getting all the toys made and loaded into the sled and delivered to the right house in the right time zone. Not to mention the amount of cookies and milk that will fill his sweet tooth and make him gain more weight than Mrs. Claus would like.

It can be stressful trying to get everything done and ready by the deadline.  As much as you would like to just drop everything and sit back and watch the snow fall in the northern western hemisphere, that tree isn’t going to decorate itself.

It’s in times like these that it is good to remember the first Christmas and the fact that our stresses don’t really compare to the stresses of that first celebration a long time ago in Bethlehem.

The Nativity *1888
  • Zechariah had to deal with being struck mute by an angel and wondering how an old man was going to beget a new born baby boy with his elderly wife who was believed to be passed the age of reproduction.
  • Mary had to ponder what it meant to have a baby when she was and was continuingly planning to remain a virgin.
  • Joseph was perplexed what to do with his pregnant wife who was already with child knowing he was not the father.
  • Mary and Joseph had to prepare for the long journey to take place in the Roman census.
  • The donkey wondered “What if I trip with this pregnant woman on my back?
  • Once they got to the City of David, where were they going to sleep? A barn with animals? Really? It was a risk for a baby back then in Bethlehem to be born, where there was little to no health care to help take care of babies. Jesus took his first breath in the dung and cud infested barn where animals lived and smelled of all sorts of interesting odors. Compare this today where we have hospitals, ambulances and less lack of germs. Today in our times we provide a safer and more sanitary place for a newborn baby and their mother to give birth.  The infant mortality rate is not quite as high  and emergency services are available and the technologies are there to help the struggling newborn along with medicines and medical tests.  Even many low income people, like the holy family, have access to special monetary healthcare.
  • The shepherds were overwhelmed with a celestial visit from a different dimension. Some may have wondered how this might affect their normal routine.
  • One of the angels wondered “Gosh, what if I screw up my part, will they kick me out of the angel choir?”
  • The 3 magi worried about traveling in the desert and getting lost. They may have wondered if the gifts they got were appropriate. They may have wondered what Myrrh actually was.
  • On a bad note, King Herod worried about his precious throne being taken away from him,  prompting the thug to kill children.
  • The mothers of the slain children were heartbroken at the death of their precious babies.
  • Getting to Bethlehem was hard enough with just two people, but Joseph had to upplant his family of 3, suddenly and moved them all to Egypt to escape the mad murderous rage of Herod.

Rest on the Flight into Egypt by Luc-Olivier Merson, 1879,
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

As much as you might be stressed this Christmas and all Christmases to get all you need to get done, done, it doesn’t compare to the first Christmas and the stresses they had to go through. It doesn’t even compare to what a lot of people  have to go through on a yearly basis.

  • In some countries you might have to worry about your church blowing up if you go to a Christmas service.
  • If you are homeless you might have to worry about where you can go to get warm and feed.
  • If you are an elderly person you might have lost your spouse and felt a depth of loneliness you never felt before.
  • You might have no  family and friends to celebrate with.
  • Perhaps you don’t have enough money to buy toys for your children.
  • You might be taken captive by kidnappers at your holiday Christmas party.

Your stresses are your stresses and I don’t want to undermine them. But it is good to remember that others then and now have stresses that are amplified during the holidays but continue all year long.

But were never alone in our stresses.

God sent an angel to announce good news to Zachariah and Mary.
Gods sent an angel to direct the actions of and reassure Joseph.
God sent a bunch of angels to tell the shepherds where to go to find the new born king.
God sent a star to guide the wise men and more angels to direct them away from Herod.

You are never alone in your stresses.
Perhaps you can be like the Christmas angels.
Perhaps you can be someone to help lessen someone’s stress.
The stresses can be reduced  by the chartatible actions of another.

Be that person that reminds another who is in the depths of despair and depression that it is better that they exist and that It is a Wonderful Life.
Be the Buddy that helps spread Holiday Cheer by singing joyful songs for all to hear. Also you can help someone fix their broken down sleigh so they can fly sky high once again with Christmas spirit.
Be the Cindy Lou Who, who reminds the Grinch that having a big heart is worth it.
Be the Linus that reminds Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about.

That God sent us a savior which is Christ the Lord.

Help bring the savior to other people by your love and charity.

Let us help others to honour Christmas in their hearts so they can try to keep it all the year.

Let’s help others to make it through the December’s of their lives.

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