Thoughts on Christmas, Love, and Stress
  

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Thoughts on Christmas, Love, and Stress

You know that magical feeling that seems to be in the air around Christmastime? We often talk about the excitement around Christmas with gift giving and Santa coming and the extra kindness and generosity that comes with the season. I think that magic that we're feeling this time of year all comes from love.

Blog Post on Handling Christmas Stress for Moms

We want to create and participate in that magical experience of Christmas (that tangible sense of being surrounded by love) and that's what motivates us to do all that we do this time of year: we shop for gifts, bake cookies, plan special meals, fill our calendars with parties and gatherings with the people we love, sing in choirs, attend performances, go to church, do service for others, and the list goes on and on! Some of you even coordinate the antics of an elf on the shelf in the midst of it all!
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Right next to all of the joy and excitement though, I've noticed a lot of talk about the stress and busyness that overwhelms us at Christmastime (especially from Moms and Dads). We have huge lists in our minds of all of the things we want to do at Christmastime, to help ourselves and our loved ones to feel that magic, the love, this season. All of our well-meaning efforts to bring as much of that love into Christmas can invite a lot of stress and strain at the same time.

Thoughts on Christmas, Love, and Stress

As parents, so much of what we do (at any time of year) is motivated by love. If you're anything like me, you also find yourself thinking about all of the things you tried to do or should have done, and all of the ways you aren't doing well enough. It can be so discouraging!

In the past, as I've experienced some of these thoughts and feelings about Christmastime and about love and our desire to bring more love into our lives and the lives of those around us, I've been a little troubled by the stress that so often comes with it for so many of us. Over time, I concluded that the way to manage that stress is just to be careful about managing our time, saying no when we need to, and just doing our best and letting go of the things we can't fit in. This year, I'm also finding myself thinking about how I want to be able to serve others and bring love and support to those who need it. I wonder how I can really manage to do that when I know from experience that our struggles aren't always visible. I wish I knew who I could help and how best to do it.

Jesus is the Reason for the Season

As we've gone about our days this December so far, we've been listening to a new Christmas CD in the background. It's a collection of beautiful, original piano arrangements of Christmas songs. It features several other artists, bringing in other instruments, vocal arrangements, and a choir on some of the songs. We've had it playing in the car as we've driven to church for the children's Christmas choir practices, we played it when we decorated our Christmas tree, and while we baked cookies to deliver to some of our friends. I wanted to share a little music video with you from this album because I love the message in the visual story that goes with it: that each of us really can make a difference to the people around us.  We don't always know that we're making a difference but I really believe that if we're focused on loving others, we'll manage to do it.

I think that's what this music video portrays. The song is O Come, O Come Emmanuel from the CD  A Sacred Christmas by Garth Smith:


Christmas exists because of the birth of Jesus. Jesus taught us to love others. He wants us to feel love and I think He often helps us to feel love through the actions of other people. If we're focused on being kind and loving to others and realize that we don't have to do anything more than we're able (even amidst the busyness of Christmastime); we will touch others and in turn, we'll feel that love at Christmastime.

How are you doing this year with balancing your to-do list?   How's the stress level? 
Have you found an approach that helps you keep the stress in check and still enjoy the magic?


Garth Smith's Christmas CD A Sacred Christmas

If you're interested in the CD I mentioned, the "A Sacred Christmas" album is available at GarthSmithMusic.com, Deseret Book, YourLDSMusicStore.com, iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.


Disclosure: I received a copy of the CD so I could share my thoughts about it with others. All opinions shared are my own.


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13 comments:

  1. Sounds like a lovely CD to listen to at this time of year. Your point is taken. Sometimes we do forget what's at the heart of Christmas. Also yes it is easy to get down and stressed about what we haven't been able to finish yet.

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    1. It's a really good one. Yep- a big reason for keeping our focus really centered in our minds, so we remember what really matters!

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  2. The stress is a bit different this year. I'm just realising right now that I'll be making our family dinner this Christmas, and haven't called to order a fresh turkey from our local butcher yet. I'm a planner at heart, so as long as I tick off each thing off my check list, I'll be able to manage the stress like every year. :)

    Thanks for the heads up on the CD. We're looking for new tunes to add to our collection.

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    1. Oh man, that would be enough to raise my stress level a fair bit, but I'm with you on the list making- it helps me a lot!

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  3. This CD sounds lovely. The perfect thing to listen to and celebrate the joys of the season. Like you have mentioned in the past I find a lot of my stress has come on through just not saying no and taking on far too much. This year I have been learning to steer away from that and you know what it has been that much more enjoyable.

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    1. It is a really good one! Thank goodness for learning how to manage these things and finding what works for us! I'm glad you're finding a change!

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  4. Okay that video got me crying, it was beautiful. I love that song. Merry Christmas!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you, too!! I hope you have a good one this year. & I know- it's such a touching video!

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  5. Beautifully written. Thank you! I've helped spread Christmas spirit this year by writing Christmas cards to 16 people who responded to my Kijiji ad asking for addresses :) I have also been working with my daughter on 'acts of Christmas kindness'.. including baking cookies for her class, filling a bag of garbage from our community, putting candy canes on cars..; teaching the next generation that it doesn't need to take much to make someone's day, to be kind, or to help the earth. :)

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    1. Thank you Leslie! It sounds like you've been doing a lot to bring kindness and service into the season for yourself and your daughter- good for you! I like the candy canes on cars idea- that's a really cute idea! :)

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  6. Beautiful and just want I needed to read today. I am having a stressed out week - not about Christmas per se, but more because work is....well, more work at this time of year.

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    1. Thanks Cyn, I'm glad it was helpful. Hang in there! I hope you have a relaxing Christmas when it gets here!

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  7. This year I was very purposeful in setting out our Christmas decor so that we were not bombarded with overwhelming images of Christmas and Santa. Instead I used lots of greenery, candles, stars and a nativity in both living room and den. This has been one of the most relaxing seasons we've ever had and I think it's because we really toned it down and place out thoughts toward God rather than all the other things that can take over so easily this time of year.

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Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment- I love reading them! :)
~Heather Lynne

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