It’s supposed to be the most joyous time of the year, but I often find myself stressed as Christmas Day approaches.

There are a few reasons why.

For starters, I’m not a shopper. I’m not very particular during the rare times I find myself at the store. When I shop for groceries, my goal is to get in and out of the store as quickly as possible. I don’t usually read labels or peruse the selection. I have my go-to (usually unhealthy) items.

Even when I make other purchases, I try to keep it simple. I recently bought a new computer monitor at Best Buy. I entered the store, found the selection, saw a nice monitor on sale and walked out with it.

The salesman seemed a bit befuddled that I had only one minor question for him.

Given all this, I get a little overwhelmed with Christmas shopping. The packed parking lots and claustrophobic store aisles wear on me.

Secondly, my Christmas list seems to be dwindling year after year. I often struggle to identify what I want for Christmas. There are many things I want, but I try to keep my list to things I need. And I try to keep it to reasonable priced items, so needs like student loan payments and a new laptop don’t make the cut.

I asked for a tablet this year, but wasn’t specific on any brand or model. So when my mom asked the kind of tablet I’d prefer, I kept deferring. I told her I needed to do more research, but honestly that never really happened.

I was overwhelmed with the options. Like I said, shopping isn’t my thing.

Spending time with family is the highlight of any holiday, but trying to organizing the details can induce stress. That’s the case sometimes with my family. It can be a challenge to get everyone in the same room at the same time, with travel schedules and other obligations.

My mom is a Christmas baby and my Grandma celebrates her birthday on Dec. 26, so that adds more planning and communication to the holiday season.

The shopping, the lists and the planning had me in a bit of a Christmas funk last weekend.

Cooped up in my apartment because of the icy weather, I wasn’t feeling very festive. I wasn’t looking forward to the long drive home and the quick turn around to head back to Portland.

Luckily, I had some sense knocked into me at church on Sunday. It sounds corny to say, but all these little stresses had caused me to forget the reason for the season.

In his sermon, the priest reminded us that Christmas is about the reality that God sent his son to share in our humanity so that we could share in God’s life. What an awesome reality.

That’s a great reason to be joyous this time of year.

I was looking at all these “stresses” the wrong way. When it comes to shopping, I should have been grateful for money to buy gifts and a car to get me to the store. Regarding my dwindling Christmas list, I forgot how lucky I am to have few needs. And as for the planning, I failed to remember that each moment spent with family is a precious moment.

There are many enjoyable aspects to Christmas, but one of my favorites is the beginning of Christmas mass as “O Come All Ye Faithful” belts through the church.  

As the choir sings the lyrics, “O come, let us adore Him,” I usually get chills.

This Christmas I have many reasons to adore Him. It’s a shame it took me so long to realize that.

Merry Christmas.