The Christmas season is a time of joy, celebrating the birth of our Lord. However, this season is also a time of significant anxiety for many.
There is the pressure for, and anxiety over, having the “perfect Christmas” – perfect decorations, perfect presents, perfect meal, etc. There is the age-old relationship anxiety when families gather. We, also, do not lose the generalized anxiety about the state of our nation and world at Christmas.
The Apostle Paul writes in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication WITH THANKSGIVING let your requests be made known to God.” That verse provides a tall order for most of us, but the emphasis I added provides a key.
When we find a reason to be thankful to our Lord in the midst of our anxiety, I believe it helps us remember all the Lord is doing, and has done, for us. This breeds trust in the reliability of the Lord to be there for us at all times. He wants to hear our requests, but He also wants us to trust Him.
I wrote a blog a while back challenging us to find something every day for which to be thankful. Some days it may seem like we have to look hard and long, but if we sincerely look, there will be a reason for thanks. God leaves us reminders of His goodness amid our anxiety and hardship. When we focus on these reminders, our anxiety lessens.
The Lord’s Prayer, which Jesus taught his disciples to pray, starts out praising God before asking God for what we need. This provides a reason for our hope and trust in God – the One who sent His Son to earth to identify with our needs. That is one fabulous reason to be thankful everyday, and not just at Christmas.
The ability to give praise and thanks in the middle of anxiety and hardship is another impactful role model for our children. They need this tool every bit as much as we do!