Est. May 2008

14 December, 2012

Christmas Stress

Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor for NBC, thinks religion ‘mucks the whole thing up’, the ‘whole thing’ being Christmas, the muck-up being the stress of the holiday season.

I wonder if it would be a fair assessment to translate that sentiment as ‘that whole Jesus-coming-to-save-mankind-from-sin-and-whose-Greek-title-(Christos)-leant-itself-to-the-naming-of-the-holiday just causes too much stress; it can’t be the whole shopping, crowds, wrapping gifts, whose-family-will-we-visit-first, what-will-we-have-for-dinner, I-hope-everybody-likes-the-gifts-we-got-them, what-if-our-flight-is-late, what-if-it-snows-too-hard-for-us-to-drive, why-do-they-start-Christmas-stuff-right-after-Halloween stuff – that isn’t stressful at all!’

Right.

Well, whether Ms Snyderman was unable – due to the time constraints of the interview format – or unwilling to explain her reasoning is anybody’s guess.  So I’ll take a guess at it, based on what she said:
SNYDERMAN: No, I don't like the religion part. I think that's what makes the holidays so stressful and – I don't.
and …
SNYDERMAN: No, I want the green trees and it smells good and everyone's happy.
and …
SNYDERMAN: I think you have to decorate your own tree, I think you should make your own dinner, I think you should buy your own presents.
Okay, so, here’s my take on that: the religious part doesn’t stress her out so much as it makes her uncomfortable – she’d much rather the holiday was secular in nature.

Now why would that be?

Well, I think we’ve all seen these signs (or ones like them):


But we likely don’t ask the obvious question – what is the reason for Jesus?  Why did God send His ‘only-begotten Son’ to earth in the first place?

John the Baptist says it best: ‘Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!’ (John 1:29)  The reason for Jesus is the sin of the world; His job was to be the perfect, spotless, unblemished substitutionary sacrifice which would once for all cleanse mankind of their sins.  The reason for Jesus was to die so that we might have a chance at eternal life with Him.

To borrow a ‘60’s-ism, that’s some heavy stuff.

It’s my opinion that this is the heart of the uneasy feelings Ms Snyderman attributes to ‘stress’; it’s also (again, IMO) the reason so many people blame religion for so many things.  Deep within their souls they sense their sinfulness; they subconsciously know they need a Savior, and that Jesus was and is that Savior; subconsciously they know they’re sinful people, but they will not admit it – instead, they pooh-pooh sin away, calling it an old-fashioned myth (among other things), and they refuse to do as Christ warned and divorce themselves from sin as best they can.  They also have fallen for the falsehood that people are all ‘basically good’, a denial of the born-to-the-blood-and-bone sinfulness that infects all mankind and is only curable with a belief in and an obedience to Jesus Christ.

Sin is also much easier than obedience, and, in some cases, it’s more fun – at least at the beginning.

So because of our natural inclination to embrace sin, it’s also a natural reaction to turn around and blame religion for our uneasy, ‘stressed’ feelings at this time of year – and, actually, the rest of the year as well.  Reminders of religion – particularly Christianity – are reminders of our sinfulness, whether we consciously realize it or not.  And those reminders prick our consciences.

That pricking of the conscience?  That’s guilt – something else society has made us falsely believe is something we should never feel.  But guilt keeps us honest.

Even when we outwardly act dishonestly about things.

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