Stressed already? Remember the real meaning of Christmas - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Stressed already? Remember the real meaning of Christmas

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

Are you too financially stressed for Christmas?  According to a recent poll by Think Finance, 45 percent of Americans say they'd rather skip Christmas altogether for financial reasons.  But as we enter the holiday season, it's important to remember that this time of year is about more than just gift giving.  

Most people agree that the real meaning of Christmas—celebrating the birth of Jesus—often gets lost in the hustle and bustle of the season.  But Rev. Bryant Wright of Johnson Ferry Baptist Church points out that the tradition of gift giving actually goes back to the very first Christmas.  

"The Wise Men brought gifts to Jesus," Rev. Wright explained.   "They really set the example, and remember that Jesus himself was the ultimate gift to mankind."

But not even the wisest of men could have envisioned what Christmas—or the entire holiday season—has become.  For many, it's still the most wonderful time of the year, but the shopping, finances, parties and family issues can sometimes make it seem like the most stressful time of the year.  

"There's no doubt, the materialism, the business, the extra activities can make it more of a miserable time then more of a joyful and fun time, but there are different things we can do to keep that focus right," said Rev. Wright.  

He points out that the importance of attending special Christmas worship services.  Johnson Ferry Baptist Church will have seven services this Christmas Eve.  And whether you're a Christian or not, it's important to keep your priorities in check.

"It's such an idolatry of consumerism in our society," said Rev. Wright.  "It's very easy to let that take precedence, and yet when it comes to gift giving, if we would take some of those funds that we would use for self or family and use those funds for people in need, then it would become a very meaningful time."

And in tough times like these, there is more of a need than ever.  Or, depending on how you look at it, there's more of an opportunity than ever.  

"Just reaching out to somebody that you know that's had a tough year, that's had some loss or had some difficulty during the Christmas season can be a wonderful way for us to keep a little bit of balance about how we are called to care for and help our fellow man," Rev. Wright said.  

Rev. Wright also pointed out that the Christmas season is especially hard for folks who have lost a loved one in the last year.  The sentimental emotions that come along with Thanksgiving and Christmas memories can accentuate the pain of this time of year.

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