Here is a unique way to have fun! Line up ten suitcases and attempt to carry them all at once. “Let’s see, I can jam this one under my arm. This one can go on top of my head, while this one goes between my legs!”
Oh and just to keep things exciting, invite an audience to watch as you struggle. I attempted this interesting but stupid feat at a church service and actually succeeded in picking up nine of the suitcases (or was it eight) but as I swung the last suitcase over my shoulder — the rest of my body followed and I was soon lying amidst a heap of luggage on the floor. (Stop laughing, please!)
Now what? Obviously, I cannot carry but so many suitcases without falling.
So, sheepishly, I asked someone in the audience for help. Immediately someone picked up four or five of the suitcases while I retrieved the others and in just a few moments we had easily accomplished together what I absolutely could not do alone.
Once I asked for and accepted help, an impossible task became manageable.
The stress and burdens of daily life often become a long line of real-life suitcases. We can carry two or three, maybe even six or seven but as stress and burdens increase, our capacity to carry the load diminishes. Eventually, we must ask for help.
Christmas often brings additional stress and burdens to an already full load. For example:
· A grieving family prepares for their first Christmas without a loved-one.
· Students trying to finish the end-of-semester rush of papers and exams.
· Workers dealing with the added stress of holiday business.
· Single parents facing too many bills, too many needs, too little income and too little time.
· Christmas parties, gift buying, baking and the frantic pace of preparing for the big day.
· Families just managing to get by are now faced with the additional burden of purchasing gifts.
· Abused or neglected children pretending to enjoy a holiday that only promises more of the same.
The stress and burdens continue to lie heavily upon our sagging shoulders year after year eventually causing us to stumble, fall and lie helplessly among the pile. No matter how strong you may be, the load cannot be carried alone. It is impossible! Recently, I discovered sound Scriptural guidance:
“So I tell you, don’t worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food, drink, and clothes. Doesn’t life consist of more than food and clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t need to plant or harvest or put food in barns because your heavenly father feeds them. And you are far more valuable to him than they are. Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? Of course not. You have so little faith. Why be like the pagans who are so deeply concerned about these things? Your heavenly Father already knows all your needs, and he will give you all you need from day to day if you live for him and make the Kingdom of God your primary concern. So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” Parts of Matthew 6:25-34
This is more than a simplistic “do not worry” speech. Instead we are reminded:
· Replace worry with faith. Go back to the basics of working on your relationship with God. Resolve this Christmas to spend more time in prayer. Share your burdens with a trusted friend.
· Faith will eventually lead to trust in a God who will lovingly guide you during difficult times. Take a quiet moment to sit and read one of the Gospels. Listen to your favorite Christmas music.
· Be content with looking for God’s help today. Tomorrow will bring its own worries. Attend worship at your local church. Become involved in a Sunday school class or Bible study.
Your faith in God can provide the needed help turning impossible tasks into manageable ones, even during Christmas. No matter what stress or burdens you may be facing, there is help available, if you are willing to ask. God’s promise is to be there, ready to help. Christmas was never meant to be an additional burden. Replace your worries with faith and let God help you carry the load.
Now, if only someone will help me get these suitcases back to my house!
Questions to Challenge:
- How many suitcases or burdens are your trying to carry all by yourself?
- How does preparing for Christmas add to the load? Who can you ask for help?
3. How can you replace Christmas worries with Christmas faith?