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Fears and Stress at Christmas When Chronically Ill

Posted Dec 03 2012 10:00am
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stress at christmas Fears and Stress at Christmas When Chronically Ill

Vicki and her siblings (cute, huh?)

“But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.’” (Luke 2:10).

What are you afraid of as Christmas approaches? Pain that prevents traveling? Fatigue that limits time with loved ones? Worsening symptoms which will cause you to abandon a treasured tradition? Does the stress at Christmas seem overwhelming?

Me too. I prefer childhood memories of Christmas. . .

As a child, the sound of soft Christmas carols playing on the record player would catapult me out of bed on Christmas morning. Barely awake, I’d spring into action without combing my hair. The glowing Christmas tree surrounded with gifts made me feel like I was entering a king’s birthday party. The manger scene reminded me it truly was a royal celebration.

Years later, while living alone, I experienced my loneliest December. My fiancé and I had just broken up. I took my dog, Tina, out for her last walk of the night. I scurried quickly past countless apartment windows. My attempts to ignore all the Christmas lights failed. Colorful beams burned right through the invisible blinders I wore on my eyes.

Finally, I reached the field where Tina liked to go. The complete silence of the night screamed, “You’re all alone.”

Tears streamed down my face. “Oh Father, will I ever find someone to be my soul-mate? I thought he was the one for me. We seemed so right for each other. I know You love me. You must have someone or something even better planned for my life. Please heal my broken heart. I’m so afraid I’ll always be lonely.”

God used the starry night to remind me of others who were afraid on Christmas. Shepherds received a message from an angel– a message God had for me also. “Fear not. Christ the Lord was born for all people, including you.”

I didn’t have to fear Christmas or my future. Jesus came to bring peace on earth and in my heart.

I still have fears and stress at Christmas. Fears of losing my cognition or that multiple sclerosis will prevent me from doing things I love. The message of Christmas comforts me all year long. Emanuel, God with us, promises peace.

Incidentally, He restores relationships. I’ve been married to that fiancé for 34 years.

Prayer: Dear Father, Thank You for sending Your Son. I’m grateful Jesus came into the world and understands my pain and sorrow. He calms my fears. Draw those close to You who do not know Your peace. May they receive the greatest Gift of all this Christmas: Christ’s free gift of salvation.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

About the Author Vicki understands special needs as a patient, parent, and professor. She has had multiple sclerosis since 1993. Her 31 year old son was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. She’s taught special education as a teacher, administrator, and adjunct professor. Through her online community she reaches out to other parents of children with special needs.

Do you feel the stress at Christmas starting to enter your heart at this time of year? What part of the Christmas story calms your fears?

When I think of fears at Christmas, my childhood memories include Linus on “A Charlie Brown Christmas” reciting the Christmas story and saying “Do not be afraid.” We hope this devotional today has lessened your stress at Christmas a bit. -Lisa

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