Stress is up.

It’s December. Research shows that 75 % of us feel good feelings during the Christmas season, love and happiness, but the research also predicts more stress.

Shopping, traffic, financial pressures and family expectations allow stress to  rule most of us at Christmas time.

It’s been noted that  women, in particular, feel a responsibility to make everyone happy during the holidays. And the poor, as the world shops,  are made painfully aware of their lack. People who have social anxiety, and that would be almost all of us, have more anxiety as work, family and church holiday events increase.

Perhaps only children, and students, on break, relax more in December, but that would be after finals, not before. My children will be home, and I’ll love it, but that won’t make the house more peaceful.

Christmas equals more stress.

It’s never been different. The birth of Jesus was full of stress. His parents traveled, stress. They hit traffic, in Bethlehem, stress. Mary gave birth to Jesus in a cave and laid him in a feeding trough, stress. The shepherds saw angels, stress. They were terrified, a form of stress.  Later King Herod tried to kill Jesus — major stress!

God entered the stressed world stressed. The incarnation, Christmas, was and remains intrinsically stressful.

What to do?

Of course, it’s smart to find some way to relax during the holidays. Heart attacks rise, and there are ways to keep from being a Christmas statistic. To thine own self be gentle, and at peace. Take a walk, better yet, take a run.

And consider the good uses of stress.

The birth of Jesus was full of stress, so also the birth of every great thing. Every book written, play acted, song sung for others, meal prepared, wrong righted, person rescued has stress in it.

No good is done without stress, so this Christmas get stressed. To love a difficult friend or family member this December may well  require stress.

To be social, with family, work associates, church family, will include more stress. Do it and you will be better for it, and so will they.  Prestressed concrete is like a person who risks and acts — stronger.

Stress may kill, a few things that need killing this year  — apathy, indifference, isolationism and selfishness.

This Christmas step up and strike while the stress is hot.


You’ll find more insights about stress at

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