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How to Enjoy a Stress Free Christmas and Spirit Filled Holiday SeasonOne of the key ways to enjoy a stress free Christmas season (and a stress free life in general) is to walk in humility. This involves surrendering to God and letting Him handle the people in your life who say and do hurtful things. This kind of action is much-needed when dealing with the tensions that sometimes arise as family members come together to celebrate the holiday.

In Matthew 11:29, CEV, Jesus said,

Take the yoke[I give you. Put it on your shoulders and learn from me. I am gentle and humble, and you will find rest.

A yoke is a wooden crosspiece placed over the necks of two animals such as oxen. The yoke is also fastened to a plow or cart for the animals to pull. Usually, the load is heavy. However, in Matthew 11:30 Jesus says His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Jesus encourages you to learn from Him in Matthew 11:29 because He is humble. In fact, let me tell you about His family reunion.

In Luke 4, we learn about Jesus’ visit to his hometown of Nazareth. I’m not sure how long he’d been gone. Maybe He was looking forward to seeing old friends and family members or maybe not. After all, He was Jesus and well aware of the drama that would develop.

I wonder how the folks in Jesus’ hometown felt about Him at this point. They knew He had left his carpentry business to become a traveling preacher. Some may have thought He’d lost His mind by giving up a profitable trade in favor of spreading a strange message. Maybe some had not changed their opinion of Jesus as a boy. The Messianic Psalm 69 verses 7-12 tell us what some in his hometown thought of Him:

For I endure insults for your sake;
humiliation is written all over my face.
8 Even my own brothers pretend they don’t know me;
they treat me like a stranger.
9 Passion for your house has consumed me,
and the insults of those who insult you have fallen on me.
10 When I weep and fast,
they scoff at me.
11 When I dress in burlap to show sorrow,
they make fun of me.
12 I am the favorite topic of town gossip,
and all the drunks sing about me.


Sometimes you need spiritual power to visit with family.


On his visit to Nazareth, like all good Jewish men, Jesus goes to Temple. He reads from a scroll. The text is Isaiah 61:1. Jesus reads the words from that verse and sits down. He tells the congregants:

This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears (Luke 4:21).”

Jesus declares Himself as Messiah to the men and women He’d grown up with, folks who had known Him since He was baby. Their response?

Is not this Joseph’s son? (Luke 4:22)

In today’s words that question would sound like…

“What? Wait a minute. This is Joseph’s son. Why, we’ve known Him since He was a baby. He’s no one special.”

Jesus immediately picks up on their unbelief and reminds them of two stories. One, involves Namaan, the leper (2 Kings 5). The other involves the widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17). 


Being with family is not always easy. This holiday season, spend time in prayer before you meet.


According to Jesus, Namaan, who was a leper, wasn’t the only one who needed healing but Elisha was sent to Namaan. The widow, who was about to run out of food and starve to death during a famine, wasn’t the only one who needed help, but God sent the Prophet to her. Jesus’ words filled His hometown friends and family with rage. They physically forced Jesus from the city and almost pushed Him off a cliff!

Why did these stories upset the Nazarenes? Namaan and the widow were gentiles. Jesus is telling his friends and family that these gentiles had more faith than they did. Jews considered Gentiles unclean and held themselves above gentiles. They had tremendous pride in their heritage as God’s chosen. And, here Jesus dares to tell them that in the area of faith, these gentiles were above the Jews.

Jesus managed to escape the people of Nazareth’s rage. I share this story with you to let you know that our Lord knows exactly what you often go through with family. He calmly walked away from the situation. He survived this family gathering and you can do the same. 


Take your mind off yourself and aim to be an effective witness.


You don’t have to let what your relatives say and do make you upset. You can be stress free by praying for them before you meet. Resolve to surrender to God and respond in love. The latter might actually include avoiding certain conversations with certain people.

God never asks you to do anything that is not possible. Follow the instructions in Matthew 11:29. The promise is rest — peace and composure — that will help you truly enjoy a Spirit-filled Christmas season.



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