Guest Post by: Brian Doan
It’s Christmas time, and with that comes all of the seasonal memories like trees, lights, Christmas dinner, pageants etc. For some it’s a time of great joy as we get to celebrate with family, some who may travel in from out of town or just down the road, grown or small children, etc.
It’s also a time where we know that we are supposed to have that joy, but things such as depression, doubt, loneliness, anxiety and more attack us with added fervor. As husbands, and the spiritual leaders of our homes, we must remember that it is vitally important to help combat these issues, as they are not of the Lord. Children and wives statistically are the most vulnerable with the women in our lives probably taking the highest seat in the season.
Wives tend to take it all on, and end up with the brunt of emotional stress in the quest for the “perfect holiday season”. They run around searching for the best ideas for gifts, spend time perfecting the plans for that perfect meal, try to help kids “be good for Christmas”, largely get dismissive answers when asking for help picking gifts (I am definitely guilty here) all the while trying to maintain a relative level of sanity!!!
So, what does this mean for us? I think we need to go back to the good book of Proverbs, “Worry weighs a person down; an encouraging word cheers a person up” (12:25 NLT) As husbands I think that this is a huge reminder that we need to help our spouses out with their struggles throughout the season. We know that we should just portray ourselves and family as who we are, but we usually end up in the masquerade in front of others. By helping our wives avoid this personal masquerade we can help elevate the stress and worry in our lives.
I am not saying that Christmas and what’s left to be done for it is now totally on your shoulders, as many wives would be even more anxious than normal with this option. What is important is words of affirmation, gestures of love, moments of sacrifice, moments of care. I like the PRAY acronym in this season
P – Put your selfish cares aside and help lift up those around you.
R – Reach deep and be generous with your time and your love.
A – Accept that you cannot fix everything, but choosing grace and love, as Christ did is key.
Y – You have the power to make a difference, every decision may not be perfect and all help offered may not be accepted, but the thought and the love are there.
Practically played out, this could mean watching the children at the part to help her nap, making a dinner once a week to help take the pressure off, doing a devotional and prayer time with the kids to show her that “You got this, spiritual leader”, or better yet (and I am not good at this either), praying with her, and seeking God’s grace so you can be more attentive to her needs. This list can go on and on forever, and honestly what works for one wife, does not work for the other.
There is hope though, things that are universaly sought after by all women. Love, grace, compassion, hope, being heard, and emotional vulnerability (to an extent), are all things women value. Assistance in the tasks that prevent them from feeling alone, isolated, or that everything is upon their shoulders and knowing that you can “be bothered” to help is important and it makes a difference.
Hopefully, this season is about great joy and love and remembering how God Himself, creator of everything, chose to do the most wonderful thing by sending His only Son to the Earth and reconcile the sins of man so that we can have a lasting life and relationship with Him.
If you found this article and are not a Christian, I thank you for taking the time to consider the message, and ask that you do the “normal” habit of many and find a church that will open its heart to you for Christmas, and listen to the message of redemption from its origin. Think about how a God who loves, sent His son, knowing that He must die at the hand of man by execution on the cross, because He loves. I could never fathom willingly allow my child to be a sacrifice in this manner, but He did it out of love. In this way, we are to love our wives and I think by extension, our children and family too. “For God so loved the world, he gave his one and only (wow!) Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 NLT) This season makes the beginning of the new life we all are destined for, the gifts we are given are all because He loves you and all you have to do is believe and just say “I love you too.”
To all, I pray that your Christmas season is joyous, there is less stress, worry and anxiety than ever, and that you cherish the woman God gave you!