For some, it’s anticipation. For others, it’s anxiety. My family talked over our plans for who was buying who which Christmas gift this year and how much we would spend and whether it would be easy to shop for this one or that one and who was the hardest to buy a gift for. I sat there and listened to the conversation just fading away. I may be the only one in my family that anticipates the holidays. They are spontaneous for me, like an unexpected snow shower early in the season.
It seems like I’m on the losing side though. More and more I see the anxiety of the season expressed in comments like, “It’s so commercialized, I don’t have the money, so and so is so hard to please, they just take my gifts back to the store.”
I wonder if we can downsize, or re-size or rightsize our anxiety levels this year. Why not just lose the anxiety? I wonder if this is possible. What do you think?
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:6,7 NKJV
I can’t tell you if Paul would shop for Christmas gifts or be seen cooking all day for a wonderful Thanksgiving banquet, but I’m sure he would be rested and peaceful and prayerful and filled with the real trimmings and gifts of the season, a graceful heart and life giving speech.
I don’t think it works to tell ourselves not to be anxious. Anxiety is a feeling that comes over us from being in an uncertain world, anxious about our relationships, friends, families, our health and all sorts of other things put together. We will never get a hold of where all our anxiety comes from.
So Paul has an offer for anxiety relief. Prayer. Replace anxiety with prayer. Don’t stop worrying, start praying. In fact, is it a stretch to suggest that those who worry the most pray the least.
Do you want to give a great gift this year. Give the gift of a present heart, a prayerful pattern, a peaceful countenance, an unhurried, unrushed presence. Do this with your family, your friends, your whoever’s. It may turn out to be the best holiday season ever.