5 Things to Avoid Worrying About This Christmas

326541992_d542103ca8_mSo I'm sitting in my living room a few weeks back and thinking about the season of Advent.  Christians talk all the time about "living simply" and like to share the mantra that "Jesus is the reason for the season".

And then I see them (ok, me too) in the shopping plaza, driving around frantically in an attempt to buy another game system or to find that doggone stand mixer that costs more than it should.  The result- cool gifts but not the faintest glimmer of Advent, Jesus or the Church.

Increased prayerfulness in Advent?  Forget about it.  About the only thing I've been praying for lately has been an end to the "holiday season" in its fullness.  I actually miss Ordinary Time.  Sort of like wishing for rain because you have a sun burn.

So what bright light can we focus on this Christmas?  Here are five things that I recommend not stressing over as December 25 looms near:

  • Finding "the perfect gift".  Just forget about this- it's the thought that counts and if someone is disappointed, too bad.

  • Missing someone important from your card list. A priest friend of mine gave up on Christmas cards years ago and he donates the money he would have spent on postage to someone in need.

  • Being in the right mood on Christmas morning. My family and I read a passage from the Gospels about Christ's birth and then tear into our gifts.  Just enjoy your family and make the link to Christ's birth so many years ago.  It's that simple.

  • Skipping a holiday party. Too many people either host or attend a Christmas party because they feel that if they don't, it reveals something deeper.  As someone who is shy, I actually like time alone or with my immediate family.  It's ok to skip the party.  They'll have another one next year.

  • That you'll offend someone by wishing them a Merry Christmas. Even for those who may be "faith slackers" or of another tradition, my guess is that they still enjoy the day off on the 25th.  Don't give in to political correctness- Jesus is cool and the savior and the reason for a national holiday.  You may actually be sharing your faith with someone in need by wishing them a Merry Christmas.

And Jesus is the reason for lives being changed.  I'm hoping that mine is different in 2010 because of a living relationship with Jesus.  How about you?

*Photo by nadya
Faith, FamilyMike StPierre