The ride home from work has gotten slightly longer. The Baltimore Beltway is filled with tired commuters and anxious Christmas shoppers heading to malls and department stores. I just want to get home, grab some grub and get some sleeping. As I look at the endless stream of red lights I wonder, “Hasn’t anyone heard of Amazon?” I begin to feel the holiday stress.

As your ministry and church prepare for Christmas you might find that emotions are high. Granted it’s the most wonderful time of the year; however, attitudes and actions could state otherwise. To own the stress that comes around the holidays make sure you:

  • Create Some Fun: While it might seem like a waste of time it’s important to schedule in some fun. Maybe it’s gathering your volunteers for a little Christmas party. Encourage your staff to get together for lunch and play a game. Or get some people together to watch a classic Christmas movie. Find time to have some fun and laugh so that you can look forward to enjoying this time more in the future.
  • Communicate Frequently: When it gets busy it’s easy to let the communication drop. When the communication goes away it’s easy to leave things up to assumption. Do not be afraid to check in with people continuously. Make sure nothing is getting bottled up. Keep short accounts and if something is building set a time with that person to approach it intentionally. Frequent communication prevents major blow ups.
  • Plan A Break: While youth ministry is like a marathon, certain seasons can turn it into a sprint. To endure the holiday stress make sure you are planning a break right after. Give yourself a couple of days to decompress and blow off any left over energy. The margin is worth it, even if it means changing the way you celebrate Christmas. Whether it’s a vacation or stay-cation give yourself time to rest and refuel.
  • Embrace Hope: This is truly a season of hope. It’s a reminder of God’s promise and if we forget that it’s easy to get sucked up in the holiday craziness and the consumeristic trap. Make sure you take time to thank God for what He’s blessed you with. Revisit a few traditions (i.e. Advent prayers) that can remind you what this season is truly about. When we have hope during the holidays it will help melt stress away.

Just like any busy season there is a lot to do and prepare this Christmas. Instead of letting it weigh down on you, get out in front and own it. Make a plan and focus on Christ and let this be a stress free season.

How do you own the holiday stress?