DEAR REV. GRAHAM: I'm already dreading Christmas because there's always so much to do, and I just get overwhelmed. I know it's wrong, but in recent years I've even ended up hating Christmas. How can I get out of this trap? —D.T.
Dear D.T.: I suspect most of us have felt this way at one time or another — but you're right: It's a trap, and we need to do all we can to stay out of it.
After all, Christmas should be a time of joy and peace, because it marks the greatest event in human history: the coming of Jesus Christ into the world. He came from heaven to save us from our sins and give us the gift of eternal life; could anything be more important, or more joyous? The angel's words to the shepherds on that first Christmas night should echo in our hearts every year: "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy" (Luke 2:10).
What can you do? First, plan ahead. Don't just think about making plans — actually make them! Sit down and write out a list of everything you know you'll have to do (including the presents you intend to buy). Then get out your calendar and decide when you'll do them. The more you can get done in advance, the less hassle you'll have at the last minute.
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Then set aside time for you and your family to focus on the true meaning of Christmas. You might, for example, take a few minutes after dinner to read about Christ's coming (including prophecies from the Old Testament and the account of His birth from the New Testament). Resolve now to make this Christmas the best you've ever experienced, as you turn your heart and mind to Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.