Beating Christmas Stress
Luis Cruz, Matthew 1:18-24 December could be one of the most stressful months, if not the most stressful. It’s the month of do it all and buy it all, at least according to some. Our insatiable desire to overstuff ourselves, for the sake of the season is what brought us to stressful conditions. And we easily get lost in the stressful situations that we have placed ourselves in. The good news is that the Bible is sufficient to address even the modern stresses of life. Today, we will look at the story of Joseph and Mary to learn how to beat stress. 1. Admit feeling stressed. Admitting you are stressed out, will allow you to seek remedy. Denying it, will do you no good as you will not seek solution to your problem. Take for instance the situation of Joseph and Mary. “18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 1:18 • Joseph was placed in a very stressful situation. • He could not understand how Mary got pregnant. • Mary’s situation was unique, and Joseph had no intimate relationship yet with her. 2. Identify the source of stress and deal with it biblically. “19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.” Matthew 1:19. • Joseph’s stress could come from both external (from the environment, social situations, physical conditions) and internal sources (our belief, perspectives in life, mental health). • The internal source would be the condition of his heart. • The internal source will inform us how to deal with the external source of stress. The condition of the heart: Worrier, bitter, resentful, angry, stubborn and unrepentant. Biblical remedy: Cast your anxieties to God, be humble, forgive, and repent. (1 Peter 5:5-7) 3. Focus on faith outcomes. Let’s look at verses 20-22 “20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:” Matthew 1:20-22 • God can use stress to teach us godly wisdom. • “What can I learn from these experiences? • What is God teaching me regarding this situation? • How can I be a better person?” • God shows up to help. • God increases and strengthens our faith. • Faith helps us to rely on Him. 4. Believe that Jesus is with you in times of stress. “23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).” Matthew 1:23 The reason we can have a stress-free Christmas celebration is to bring back the Reason for the season – Jesus. He came, not just to save us from sins but to give us inner peace. So, here’s the summary in defeating stress this Christmas. • Admit that you are experiencing some form of stress. • Identify the source of your stress. • Focus on faith outcomes. • Believe that Jesus never abandons God’s children.