It is that time of year again – the most loved and stressed out holiday of the year -Christmas, of course!
If you are like me, your Christmas tree is up and your stockings are “hung by the chimney with care.” And the kids are in such excitement around Santa coming that they bring a whole level of excitement in an already excitable home!
In just a few short days, the hugely anticipated season of the year will once again be here.
The excitement is palpable. But, let’s be honest, so is the stress.
There is, after all, a to-do list that simply wouldn’t end.
Whether it be Christmas baking that needs to be completed, last-minute teacher gifts to buy, or a house that needs to be picked up and thrown into a well-hidden closet before guests arrive, this season often feels more overwhelming and exhausting than joyful and blessed.
(And all of God’s people said a resounding, “Yes…”)!
So, what do we mama’s do in these moments when the days leading up to Christmas are filled with more stress than joy?
Do we ignore the lists and simply be in the moment, focusing on the birth of our Lord and Savior?
The right answer, of course, is yes, but the honest and very real answer is not likely.
So, how can you marry the two? How can you embrace the to-do list while also remembering the reason for the season?
The solution I offer today is not the only answer. It is, however, a tool to use when you find yourself swaying more towards stress and overwhelm and away from the real reason for the season.
Breathe prayers are a tool a very dear friend taught me a few years ago. She is a Holy Yoga instructor and uses these prayers in her practice. It is a true mind-body-spirit technique that calms your worries while allowing you to meditate on Biblical truth.
From a physiological level, breathe prayers deactivate the fight-or-flight sympathetic nervous system, while simultaneously activating the calming, parasympathetic nervous system. Psychologically, breathe prayers refocus your attention away from your worry or fear and move it to Biblical truth.
The end result is more relaxation, less stress, and more of God’s amazing peace.
The best part about these breathe prayers is that they can be done anywhere. In fact, anytime you recognize worry and stress building, pause and take a few minutes to execute these breathe prayers.
Ready to learn? Let’s jump in!
To begin, it is essential to learn how to breathe properly.
Place one hand on your lower belly and one hand over your heart. Practice taking several deep breaths. As you inhale, feel your belly, hand, and ribs expand outward. Hold the breath at the top for a second, before you begin your slow exhalation.
On the exhale you should feel everything that once expanded collapsing back in. Push out all the air until you are left with nothing left to exhale. Continue this deep breathing cycle several times. When you feel ready, begin reciting the inhalation and exhalation statements quietly to yourself, or out loud.
It is often helpful to complete the breathe prayers by mediating on the corresponding Scripture. Finally, end your time in prayer with God, asking Him to refocus your attention to His presence and the gift of Jesus.
Listed below are two breath prayers you can practice this Christmas season to reduce the stress while keeping your heart and eyes looking heavenly.
Inhale: Every good and perfect gift,
Exhale: comes from above.
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
Prayer: Dear Heavenly Father, please forgive me for my misaligned priorities. I’ve been looking for the perfect gift to buy others this Christmas season. There is only One perfect gift and He is your one and only Son. Help me to use this season to share Jesus, the perfect gift, with anyone who needs to meet Him. Amen.
Inhale: Jesus is the reason,
Exhale: for the season.
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).
Prayer: Lord God, my heart is torn. I want to only focus on you and the birth of your Son, the Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. My mind, however, so easily wonders to what the world says is important. Help me, Lord, to redirect this focus back to you. Help me to release the pressure I feel to live by the world’s standards. Let my heart be joyful for you and you alone. Amen.
It is my prayer that this tool will help you reduce your stress while keeping your eyes looking heavenly toward the birth of Jesus, our Wonderful Counselor, and Everlasting Father. After all, in the end, the only thing that matters is knowing Jesus as your Lord and Savior.
From my family to yours, God bless you! And don’t forget to keep looking up!
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