A stress-free non-belief in Christmas?


Jimmy Cochran

Columnist


I was in the doctor’s office last week, standing in line to check in with the receptionist. As the lady in front of me finished her paperwork, the receptionist wished her a Merry Christmas to which the lady replied in a flippant tone, “I don’t believe in Christmas, so I don’t have any of the hassle and stress. I hope you survive it.” And, she turned around and left to wait for the doctor to see her.

There were two surprises for me in that short conversation. The first was that I was pleasantly surprised to hear someone in a secular business environment use the term “Merry Christmas” instead of the generic “Happy Holidays.” Second, I was taken quite aback at the lady’s tone and curt response of not believing in Christmas and (somehow) not having any hassle or stress.

Even people of other faiths (or of no religious belief) are usually more accepting, and polite, of someone wishing you a “Merry Christmas.” After all, Christmas is merely a season of the year where we all can wish good will and peace to all people. Christians celebrate Christmas as the birth of Jesus and hold this as a holy season, but, the receptionist never mentioned Jesus Christ or tried to hit the lady with the plan of salvation or anything. She merely wished her a, “Merry Christmas.”

After I checked in and sat in the waiting room, I watched Ms. “stress-free because I don’t believe in Christmas” as she played on her cellphone, dug through her purse for things, and picked up magazines and browsed them without reading, tapping her foot the whole time. My mind tried to grasp how anyone can live a hassle-free, stress-free life. After all, this is 2016. Just driving to the grocery store one mile away and trying to find a parking spot gives me enough stress to last a week. And the Christmas season makes it even worse.

However, this calm and unburdened lady manages to drive through downtown Atlanta to see her doctor without stress and hassle … well, it just seems miraculous.

I wondered how she handles illness of a loved one, disappointments by family and friends, her cake turning out either burnt or not cooked, or her car breaking down on the expressway…in the rain … in the cold … and her cellphone battery is dead. No stress and no hassle?

I grew up as a believer in Christ and He Is the Reason for the Season. And, yes, I do feel hassle and stress during this season, but I just remember God’s gift to me that we celebrate at this time each year and I can feel the stress fade away. How does this lady proudly proclaim that not only does she not believe in Christmas, but she has no stress or hassle?

Jesus taught us that we don’t need to worry or fear; to not be anxious over anything, but to just pray about everything. He promises that He will take our burdens and worries away. God never promised us a stress-free life, but did promise that He will be with us as the difficult times arise. And stress, hassle, disappointment, and sorrow does not just happen during December. It’s a year-round thing.

Maybe this particular column isn’t the most cohesive, but that whole conversation really made me think about perceptions people have about Christ and Christmas. It is a tough world and bad things happen to Believers and non-Believers alike. It’s just that we have a way … a WAY … to help us.

So, to all of you, and to the lady in the waiting room, I wish you a Merry Christmas and remember that very special Baby born so many years ago.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to Jimmy.

Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of Being God’s and Staying God’s, both available at Amazon.com. Being God’s is also available at Moye’s Pharmacy in McDonough.