Welcome to part 4 of my holiday blog series, Trading Anxiety for Peace. Today we’ll discuss how intentional planning can pave the way toward Christmas peace.
Dealing with Anxious Thoughts
Do you feel anxious at Christmas like I usually do? The Christmas season is a time for hope, joy, and peace, but anxiety finds its way inside every year. But I’m determined not to let anxiety control me this December.
Christmas peace is closer to me when I stick to plans. My December anxiety level raises up higher when I don’t stick to a plan, and I’ve learned through trial and error what plans work best. Here are several examples of what works for me:
- If I stick to my plan to meet Jesus every morning in December, my whole day goes more smoothly. That one-on-one time with him is an antidote for my anxious thoughts.
- If I stick to my plan to set a timer throughout my day, I feel energized and happy, and my anxious thoughts about my health are squashed.
- If I stick to my plan to meditate on God’s word for greater peace, my thoughts stay on a positive track rather than an anxious track. Like the Lionel train my children love to play with at Christmas, my thoughts must move along a peaceful, God-pleasing track to keep moving forward.
- If I stick to my plan to manage my sugar intake, my worries about gaining weight are kept to a minimum. I can enjoy a delicious Christmas cookie now and then without beating myself up.
For nine years, I worked as an event planner of an annual home and garden show. If one thing was consistent in each year of the event, it was this: you can plan, plan, and plan some more, but something will always go differently than you expected. I learned to expect the unexpected as an event planner.
Trusting God This Christmas
There’s no way I can control everything that will happen this holiday season. I have learned over the years to let go of my control tendencies and trust God with the master plan.
At the same time, sticking to the basic plan grants a measure of predictability, which keeps my anxiety in check. For example, I have zero control over family drama this Christmas. But by maintaining my rhythms of Bible study, exercise, eating right, and resting, I will be better prepared to handle the unknowns with a peaceful mindset. By grounding myself in God’s goodness, I can face the holiday uncertainties with greater peace.
A New Plan
Do you enjoy Christmas devotionals? They help me focus on the heart of Christmas during busy December.
I’m reading Devotions for Christmas and Ann Voskamp’s The Greatest Gift every day in December. I’m also reading my own Christmas Peace for Busy Moms, because no one needs that message more than me! These three books, along with my normal Bible reading, will breathe peace into my heart each day. They will help me pause and ponder this beautiful season with awe and wonder.
These devotionals will guide my time alone with the Prince of Peace. Time alone with Jesus is the only way I’ll stay connected to peace, no matter what happens this Christmas.
Draw near to God and he will draw near to you. James 4:8 ESV
Here’s an excerpt from my book, Day 23 Peaceful Celebration:
All our December planning and preparation in our hearts and homes point toward Christmas Day. The joy of this day is based on the arrival of our Savior, who makes peace with God possible.
I want to keep the end in mind as I go about my tasks in December. The whole point of Christmas is to celebrate Jesus’ coming, and to praise him for drawing near. I don’t want to miss that important message in all my busy rushing, and planning well can help me stay focused. Will you also find ways to focus on Jesus this Christmas?
Thank you for joining me on this journey of Trading Anxiety for Peace. I hope this series has blessed you.
For the next three weeks of the Advent season, I’ll be sharing Advent prayers here on the blog. They will be short, easy reads to lift you up in your busy days. I’ll also have batches of book reviews for you on Tuesdays, in case you need some last-minute Christmas gift ideas.
Also, I’m SO excited that I will be featured on the (in)courage blog on December 23 with a special Christmas-themed post. I hope you’ll take a minute or two to read it on that day, and let me know what you think!
Questions for you:
- Which Christmas devotional is your favorite?
- In what way do you need to trust God with the master plan this Christmas?
- What daily rhythms bring you greater peace in busy December?
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