Remember back in November when I shared a Holiday Pressures survey with you? Well it was fascinating to read what people shared, and I think it might be helpful for you to hear what others are thinking. Here are some things that stood out:
**Which of the holiday feelings apply to you?It sounds like our two biggest traps are wanting everything to be perfect and trying to make everyone happy.
**How much pressure does your marriage experience in the holidays? About half said not more than normal ... that could mean various things. Roughly 30% said that it is a very stressful time of year.
**What aspects of the holidays create the most stress for you as a couple? Financial strain was the clear winner, with planning time with extended family not far behind. They were out front of all other pressures.
**How do these things rate in your holiday planning? Definite non-negotiables were spending time with immediate family and time in church. Important (but not necessary) are decorating and making food.
**Who creates the most stress for you in the holidays? The hands down winner: OURSELVES! ;) Behind this came parents/in-laws and then children.
**How do people mostly feel about spending time with extended family? Most people really look forward to this and are willing to travel to make it happen. There are quite a few, though, who are heavy hearted about this and feel a lot of concern. Blended and broken families have added to the uncertainty for many.
And the last question: What one thing helps you experience peace in your life during the holidays?
- quiet time reading God's Word, praying, and focusing on Jesus' birth
- not sacrificing our quiet time routines, especially in the busy month of Dec.
- enjoying the goodness of God and giving thanks
- spending time with family and friends
- choosing to have quiet time and saying no to extras
- keeping up good communication in marriage
- not taking others too seriously
- giving family members the benefit of the doubt, remembering they are motivated by love
Loved this quote shared by one blog friend: "Keep before me the thought of.......why am I doing this? If it is not to honor Jesus as King and because it is His birthday, then I should just skip it all together. But I know Truth and want those around me to experience the joy I know."
Zechariah's prophecy in Luke 1 remind us of the reason for Christ's birth: "the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace" (vv.78-79).
Thanks so much for sharing your hearts as the holidays begin. We all face some added pressures during this season, so maybe a good question to ask each other would be: "How can I pray for you this Christmas season?"
So ... how can I pray for you this Christmas season? Praying that as yours begins, your feet will be guided into the way of peace,