God so loved the world... John 3:16-17

In any year Christmas can be difficult times for many families and individuals, and this year there have been added “stressors” during the year through quarantine-related separation and loss. Where families, or friends are experiencing anxiety or depression, it is okay to acknowledge it!

Stress grows when people feel pushed and pulled in several seemingly impossible directions all at the same time. Stress also grows as spouses become more and more fatigued from trying to meet others’ needs and expectations, and sometimes from the usually unfounded fear of somehow letting their family and others down at Christmas.

It is an unfortunate reality of life that when a husband or wife feels stressed they often turn away from their spouse. At a time when they need each other, they may instead criticize each other, which experts agree will be unhelpful.

When under stress, a person is likely to take their frustration verbally on those who are closest to them and within marriage that is their spouse - the very person who can and should be their greatest ally and source of support. A great rule when a spouse is seeking to advice is first to show empathy and understanding before suggesting the solution, and expressions of affection are needed in these times.

Christmas should be a joyful time as we remember and celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus, may we find ways to help those around find peace and joy in life and not just through this time.