For many of us, Christmas morphs into Stress-mas as we attempt to manhandle the performance pressure and general mayhem. The spiritual impact of Christ’s birth drowns in our to-do list.

Here are a few suggestions that I’ve found invaluable in freeing myself up to enjoy the joy of the season; I hope they work for you too.

Make Christmas a holy-day, not just a holiday. As a family, grab the popcorn and watch a quality biblical account of the first Christmas, like The Nativity Story—my personal fave because the Wise Men are such a hoot. It’s a great way to kick off the holy-day month focusing on the true reason for the season … before we lose ourselves in the fray.

Be intentional about prayer. Set aside time to pray every day. Make it a priority to communicate with your Savior and draw from His strength. You’ll need it when Aunt Bertha arrives.

Ask Papa God for His peace. Not the veneer kind the world gives … the deeper kind that transcends all human understanding, as found in Philippians 4:6-7: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, through prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made know unto God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” My acronym for PEACE:

P: Placing
E: Each
A: Aggravation at
C: Christ’s feet,
E: Expectantly (Fully expecting Him to give us His supernatural peace like He promised in the Phil 4 passage … and He truly will!)

Dear friend, I’m guessing there will be many opportunities for you to apply my acronym this Christmas with all the aggravations galore—family squabbles, overcooked food, wardrobe malfunctions, epic failure of Christmas Day Plan A … then B … then C …

But you know what? Some of our best memories are made in the midst of chaos.

Just bear in mind that the biggest decom-stressor of all is to remember who is ultimately in control (hint: it’s not you or me!).

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Debora M. Coty is an inspirational speaker and award-winning author of over 40 books, including including the best-selling Too Blessed to Be Stressed series. Visit Debora at