Keeping Calm Amid the Chaos

Tis the season. Nativity scenes, light displays, joyous music, festive events.


Tis also the season of tangled strands of lights, time-consuming decorating, endless baking, tedious shopping, frantic gift wrapping, and attempts to squeeze gatherings onto limited blocks of space on the calendar. How can we keep calm amid all this chaos?

In the middle of the mess, I’m reminded Jesus is the absolute true reason for the season. I believe in keeping Jesus at the center of all things Christmas, but I confess it’s easy to fall prey to the surrounding holiday fanfare and perceived expectations of responsibilities.

For me, this specific Christmas season is proving a challenge. If you were to ask my husband where I’ve been recently, he would say, “Last I saw, Dawn was hiking up Mount Anxiety.” And my thoughts would echo, I don’t even have time to have the nervous breakdown I deserve!

An unexpected occurrence created a bump on my path, spiraling me into a tailspin.

I suffered a bad fall . . . I fell, y’all!

My right leg is now messed up with internal injuries compromising my energy, endurance, and mobility—during the Christmas season. Oh, the nerve!

Sometimes, we’re forced to endure difficulties which heighten our challenges. At the peak of the joyful, magical season of Christmas we catch the flu, we break an arm, we struggle with a broken relationship, or lose a dear loved one. Maybe we’re all alone. Instead of crooning our favorite stanza of Silent Night, we’re internally screaming, How can I keep calm amid my chaos? Sigh.

Have you been there?

(Are you there right now?)

Unexpected changes, along with expected holiday demands, can shatter festive fairy tales. But they don’t have to. When we are tempted to measure ourselves and our accomplishments against the ideal holidays shown in Christmas movies, we need to stop and turn our minds toward the truth of Christ. Jesus never tells you and I to stay busy (even during the holidays.) He tells us to give our anxiety to Him—all of it. Keeping our focus on the birth of our Savior lightens the load and puts our tasks and challenges in perspective.

Our crazy, Christmas chaos does not have any power over Christ.

And it never will. But we must surrender.  We must place our anxiety, stress, pain, sickness, turmoil, or sorrow into the hands of our Savior and allow Him to take care of the details. Resting in Him assures whatever is crossed of our list—or not—is as much as the Lord believes we can handle.  

We can keep calm amid the chaos with a shift in perspective. Rather than fretting over a “to-do” list this season, try focusing on a “to-be” list:


  • Be identifying and eliminating things that cause you stress.
  • Be mindful of your limitations and set boundaries.
  • Be planning time for rest, quiet time, and prayer.
  • Be focusing on what you can control, giving God what you can’t.
  • Be grateful for (and celebrate) what you can
  • Be prioritizing simple pleasures rather than fulfilling obligations (enjoy a meal with a friend, sit around a fire, read a book.)
  • Be giving yourself grace. Be kind to yourself if you’re not up to feeling any holiday cheer. It’s okay.


I recently read about a centuries-old Christian practice called breath prayer, which is a simple practice combining prayers of meditation on God’s word with deep breathing. As you pray the first line of a Scripture, inhale deeply and slowly. Then, as you pray the second line, exhale slowly and completely. This can be repeated as often as you wish. Deep breathing helps calm symptoms of stress and anxiety, while praying the Scriptures directs our minds toward Christ and His faithfulness.

Here’s an example with Psalm 94:19. Give it a try!


Inhale: When the cares of my heart are many,

Exhale: Your consolations cheer my soul.


The bottom-line best way to keep calm amid the chaos is to take yourself to Jesus—even if you go crawling. Jesus came into this world in the middle of a messy stable to meet you and I right where we are, in whatever we’re going through. Jesus remains with us.

And He is enough.


Father God, thank you for the gift of your son who fills my heart with joy. I ask for the peace and comfort of your presence during the sometimes-difficult season of Christmas. Help me focus on shining my light to be an encouragement to others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


How do YOU keep calm amid the sometimes-chaos of Christmas? Please leave a comment . . . I read every one!





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2 thoughts on “Keeping Calm Amid the Chaos”

  1. Avatar

    Oh Dawn, how I can relate. I have already climbed Mount Anxiety a couple times this season. But I have not stayed there as I choose to focus on the Lord and what is truly important. Praise God for His gentle reminders and peace.

    1. Dawn Van Beck

      Oh yes, Laura! God’s precious peace keeps it all in proper perspective, right? Thanks for sharing. Christmas Blessings to you.

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