Christmas has always brought me a lot of anxiety from the time when I was a child anxiously waiting to see what Santa Claus brought me on Christmas morning to my life today when I still worry if our Amazon purchased presents will arrive on time for our children’s and grandchildren’s Christmas celebrations.
Worry was one thing that my father and his father engaged in frequently. As farm folks who labored from the early nineteen hundreds through the First World War, the depression years, the Second World War, and into the fifties, there was indeed plenty of apprehension to occupy one’s mind. Since farming was their only way of making a living, bad weather for the year, or a poor decision made in regards to planting time or harvesting a crop did indeed cause anxiety in the family.
Their occupation with worry was passed on to me when I left for college. Was I good enough to compete with the other students and to keep my marks high enough so that I could remain in school? And when I decided to continue my education at graduate school, could I compete in subjects that I knew nothing about? I wondered if my health would give out with all of the hours of study that seemed necessary for me compete.
Anxieties followed me through my career. They have a phrase today which describes me: “Over thinker”; trying to control the future by anticipating all of the things which could go wrong and then acting upon that list.
I think about the first Christmas in Bethlehem. Joseph’s taxes were due and he had to travel to Bethlehem to pay them. And on top of that, his girlfriend was pregnant and traveled with him. He was deeply disturbed that he wasn’t the father of that child. When they arrived in Bethlehem, the only place that he could find for them to stay was in a stable with some sheep. Now that was a man who had a lot of things to be anxious about!
What’s the point to my ramblings? Accept each day as gift. Take the time to put your anxieties aside, trust in the Lord, and have Merry Christmas!
James R. Bupp