/ thanksgiving / Nathan Eshelman

Stressed Out for the Holiday?

The Puritans are often considered the quintessential curmudgeons of the Christian faith. This is untrue, but often repeated nonetheless. Could you imagine taking stress relief counsel from them? Would they even understand?

They may have more to say than you might know.

As you go into a holiday week, especially one with increased anxieties coming from unseen disease and increased restrictions from local and state authorities, consider the old phrase:

"Don't kill yourself over it."

The sixth commandment (Exodus 20:13), which is against killing, has several interesting applications that are useful for your holiday plans and preparations. The Puritans understood this (really!). The Westminster assembly, a gathering of Puritan ministers and church leaders in the 1640s, have a catechism, called The Westminster  Larger Catechism, which has great stress relieving counsel. Hidden gems are in Question and Answer 135 to take into your holiday preparations and celebrations.

The command to not kill includes the preservation of self. During times of increased stress, the command to preserve life includes the following*, according to the Puritans:

  • Quietness of mind.
  • Cheerfulness of spirit.
  • Moderation in food and drink.
  • Getting enough sleep.
  • Charitable thoughts about others.
  • Love, compassion, gentleness, and kindness in speech.
  • Being patient with others.
  • Forgiving offenses against you.

As you go into the holiday with the normal stresses of family, food, and shopping--along with the new stresses of disease, governmental warnings, and the like--

"don't kill yourself over it."

Remember the sixth commandment as the Puritans would have you keep it. These are stressful times, but we have a duty to preserve our own lives.


*Maybe print this list and keep it in your pocket. Seriously.

Nathan Eshelman

Nathan Eshelman

Pastor in LA, studied at Puritan Reformed Theological & Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminaries. One of the chambermen on the podcast The Jerusalem Chamber. Married to Lydia with 5 children.

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