To detoxify is to remove pollutants and other toxins from our bodies. This is a building block to a healthy life. A popular way to do that these days is to do a cleanse or purge. However, one of the biggest toxins each person must fight is stress. And the most stressful time of the year, for many, is Christmas.
A few years ago, during a Christmas program at church, a little boy and his sister were singing “Silent Night.” The boy then concluded “Silent Night” with the words, “sleep in Heavenly beans.” His sister poked him with her elbow and said, “No, not beans. It’s peas.” All too often, by the time Christmas day arrives, we could care less if it is beans or peas, because it is certainly not feeling very peaceful.
As Christmas approaches, there are untold lists of things we desire to accomplish.
- Decorating the tree/hanging lights
- Buying/wrapping gifts
- Baking cookies/prepping for a holiday feast
- Attending parties
- Family pictures/card/letter writing
- Making ornaments/gifts
- Concerts and programs for kids
Do you wonder if it is even worth it? Have you become so busy with the trappings of the season, you don’t have time to spend with Jesus. What does He think of our rushing about? After all, the season is about the celebration of His birth, the promise of His return, and the hope of salvation found in Him.
Detoxify – Choosing the Important
There is a story in Luke 10 where Jesus goes to his friend Lazarus’ home. Additionally, in the story, we meet two sisters, Mary and Martha. Their approach to Jesus’ visit are polar opposites. Martha is busy running around and trying to be a good hostess, preparing the meal, cleaning, etc. Whereas, Mary is found sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to Him.
Martha comes to Jesus and complains. She tells Him that it is unfair that she is doing all the work while her sister is sitting around. Jesus responds in verse 41, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” (NLT)
There is something essential in this passage when it comes to detoxifying the season and reducing stress. Jesus’ words echo through time, “ONLY one thing is necessary…” This statement tells us a LOT about how we deal with the season. Indeed, we will enjoy Christmas more when we focus on what is NEEDED. If our bodies are constantly under stress, we will eventually snap.
To illustrate, there was a time years ago, my husband was home on leave from Iraq for ten days. But, it was in December. We were traveling and I was upset about little things. Sadly, I just snapped at him. He understood it was the result of months of stress. But I forgot what was important was spending time together and building memories.
In Luke 10:40, we see Martha snap. She essentially yells at Jesus, “Don’t you care?!?!?!” In particular, Martha was STRESSED OUT, but she was also distracted. When we are stressed, it is easy to become distracted by unnecessary things and forget what is truly important — time with Jesus.
Detoxify – Eliminate the Unneccesary
To begin to detoxify we cross off those things from our list that are truly not necessary. We prioritize. Further, if the thing we are doing does not add value, if it doesn’t draw us closer to Jesus or family, then we simply free ourselves to say ‘no.’
Additionally, there are things we do each year out of habit. These are things we no longer even truly value. Many times we do these out of habit and they aren’t important to us or our family. Essentially, it is good to build tradition, but it is worth asking ”Is this serving a purpose?” If it no longer serves a purpose, we cut it. However, we don’t cut out those things that involve serving others, we don’t cut out those things our family treasures, but we do say ‘no’ to those things we do out of obligation that doesn’t bring joy during the stress of the season.
Detoxify – Prioritize Relationships
Secondly, Make a plan to prioritize your most significant relationships. This plan must include those whom you desire to cultivate relationship, those whom you serve with, those whom you love.
- Christ — spend time EVERY day in prayer and Bible reading. Don’t choose the important over the essential. Our relationship with Jesus is esssential.
- Spouse — if you are married, make time for your spouse, go on a date, share a cup of coffee, give an extra hug, say ‘thanks.’
- Family — do not neglect time with them for obligations that don’t build relationship. Do prioritize conversation and bonding.
Detoxify – Simplify
This last step is easier than it sounds. The way to simplify is to find the spiritual significance of everything you do this season. The things we do should build relationship with family and it should draw you closer to Christ.
Similarly, look at the very first Christmas, talk about busy and stressful for Mary! She was a young unwed mother who was expected to travel great distance with her fiance to pay taxes. Mary and Joseph arrive in Bethlehem to find there is no place for them to lodge. Eventually, the time comes for the birth of her son and she finds herself in a stable, basically a cave where animals were housed.
On the surface, there is nothing beautiful in this picture. There is no “joy of the season.” There is no “peace on earth.” But in Luke 2:19, we see these words, “Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” Mary’s response to the stress of the season was to ponder, to meditate, to focus her heart on Jesus.
Our response to stress, should be like both of these Marys — to take time to listen to Jesus and to ponder those things He would teach us.