This morning I had an anxiety attack for the first time in months. I love this time of year, and I was particularly excited to do the Christmas food shop today and finish the last of the wrapping while the kids had their last morning at school for two weeks.
I sat thinking of what I needed to do as I finished drinking my tea, and suddenly there it was… That ‘thump thump’ in my chest, not enough air in the room to satisfy my laboured gulps, and hands shaking so much I could have made milkshake. I can only think it was my subconscious freaking out about everything I had to do before the big day arrived. The food, the cleaning and clearing of space in anticipation of family arriving for a few days, and maybe the worry of how I would cope with it all on my own since my husband is working all through Christmas. But on the surface I was excited about it all and couldn't wait to get to the supermarket. (sad I know, but I love food shopping!)
I got straight to my relaxation techniques and steadied my breathing, and as I did, I prayed. As I sat there I was reminded that that is quite simply all Christmas is about. It's not the food, or the presents and the worry that the kids will be satisfied with what they get, or if they'll refrain from trying to kill each other for 5 mins, or even whether we can keep our cool around family members and people that we're forced to spend time with. It is simply about Jesus. And why we celebrate this day in the first place. He came so that we can have a relationship with God, and in those few moments when my breathing calmed down and I felt peaceful again, I was so thankful for the love and peace that flowed through me from Him. That God loves me enough to care about these little, but very real meltdowns about Christmas preparations. Then knowing I could tackle the day, the week and whatever life threw at me over the festive period. None of it mattered because in reality, the reason for the season is Him. Jesus, Prince of peace. I just needed to shift my focus, from what was in front of me, to what is inside of me. And that's the point… Jesus came not to condemn the world and chastise us for the bad things we do… But to give us life, and in abundance!! Not just eternal life either… We get to experience the joy, love and peace now in our lives. And today I was reminded of that when I needed it the most.
Whatever Christmas is for you, whoever you spend it with and wherever you are, I pray that you won't worry about having all the right stocking fillers or pastries, but that you keep your focus on the important, most wonderful part of the season. The reason.
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through Him.”