Silent Night, Holy %$#! My Server Just Crashed!


The next few weeks are going to be a bit stressful between family visits, travel, harsher weather, etc. You will be under a bit more stress than usual, and that’s not the end of the world. (At least, I hope the Mayans were wrong.) However, you could very well push your holiday season over that apocalyptic threshold by adding to your stress load.

The Christmas Catch-22

Free-lancers, back me up on this: the holidays kinda stink. You work extra hard for weeks to generate extra money for the holidays. However, you either get so fired up from all of the extra work that you find it hard to stop, or you do find a way to stop only to get slammed with a cold or the flu or whatever other bug your immune system and adrenal glands held at bad.

This is not effective, nor is it beneficial to your long-term physical, relational, or professional health.

That being said, I know you’re still probably trying to squeeze in some last minute work before the holidays kick in. That’s what I was doing last night. After a full day of work and several hours of wrangling my daughter, I was finally able to sit down and look through the various websites that I host. One of them, a real estate website for my dad, was down when I tried to update some software via WP Remote. Not fully realizing the extent of the problem, I attempted to login to the WordPress install…and my face fell—HTTP 500 Internal Error! I felt like the Internet was saying, “Come at me, bro!”

Fortunately, I didn’t freak out. I just quietly logged back into my hosting account and got to work. Eventually, after tinkering around for a few minutes and checking the error log, I found that the Jetpack plugin had failed to update properly a few days prior and was causing the entire install to crash. A few seconds later and a firm press of the DELETE key, and we were back in business.

Looking back, I’m surprised I didn’t freak out. This was the second server problem I had dealt with in thirty minutes. When I first sat down to look over my sites, one of my WordPress installs got stuck in maintenance mode. Of course, I remembered that there was a quick fix for that, hit up Google, and had no problem getting it all fixed. But then I had the 500 error…

Thankfully, I did remained calmed throughout the whole ordeal, and everything worked out in the end. In case you find yourself in a similar situation, here a few things to remember:

God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen

Take a break and get some rest. This is the busiest season of the year, and if you don’t face it with a good night’s sleep, Christmas will kick your tail. You don’t need to hibernate, but you do need to take care of yourself.

Come, All Ye Faithful

This might sound silly, but are you actually taking time to worship this Christmas? Ridiculous as it might seem one of the first things to be ditched when a person’s schedule fills up is God. Don’t let this happen to you.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Make some memories with your family. Sing songs around your tree. Read the birth story of Jesus together. Don’t waste the holidays, and don’t make your family come in second to your work.

You have work to do, and that’s fine. Just try to keep a level head if things go wrong. An HTTP 500 Internal Error is uber-frustrating, but getting coal in your stocking because you’ve been a grinch is way worse.

Are you doing anything to make extra cash before Christmas?

Has any one project nearly driven you insane?

[Image via Jason Corneveaux]


Phil Schneider

I'm a teacher and discipleship pastor. More importantly, I'm husband to the greatest woman in the world and father to a ridiculously cute daughter. I also occasionally scratch out a few blog posts. You can buy my new book, Finding Faith Inside the Big Blue Blox, from ChurchMag Press!

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  1. says

    Thanks for the subtle reminder :) After last weeks tragedy, I have basically taken the last few days to step away and rethink my priorities as a dad of two elementary school kids.. On the other hand, I knew that taking this time to reflect on that, I know I would kick in a bit harder, probably through the holidays to catch back up.

    Thanks for keeping us on track with what really matters.

    • says

      No problem, Jeremy. I think this is a problem that most free-lancers and side-project bloggers struggle with because we’re a generally task-oriented bunch. At least, I know I am. It’s been and continues to be one of my biggest struggles.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Mark says

    I’m surprised by the offensive title given on this post. Come on, this is CHURCH mag… is it really necessary to put profanity front and center, while at the same time denegrating the night of our Savior’s birth? It is deplorable, uncalled for, lazy writng, and simply offensive.

    • says

      Hey, Mark. First and foremost, I’m sorry that my post title is offensive to you. That was certainly not my intention. At the same time, let me explain my post title.

      I chose to write the post this way to highlight the frustration/rage that many—myself included—feel when problems creep in with free-lance projects. I’m not encouraging or glorifying profanity, but I am being honest that it is a likely reaction to high-stress problems. At the same time, I would never use profanity in a post, which is why the post title is written in comic strip stand-in symbols. You are free to insert whatever word you’d like in place of those symbols.

      Lastly, I take offense at your statement that I am denigrating the birth of Savior. Did you read my post, brother, or did you get mad at the title and then post a comment? The point of this post was to remind others like myself to take time away from work for faith and family. I wouldn’t dare make an assumption about you, Mark, but for me, when I get swamped in work, I often withdraw from my family and begin to take my eyes off of Jesus. When I do such, I find that I make all-manner of bad choices, including losing my temper and allowing profanity or other non-edifying, non-glorifying words leave my mouth.

      My intention with this post was to honestly address this issue among free-lancers and to help others learn from my mistakes so that they would not allow this blessed season pass by without taking time for worship, for family, and for celebration. There is no denigration here, Mark. Christmas is a party because the God of All came to earth to lift me out of my self-made mess. The central questions of my life (“Who am I?” “Where am I going?” “What’s my purpose?”) are answered, and my greatest problem—sin and wickedness—has been dealt with. Thus, I am going to party. I am going to celebrate my God with reckless abandon.

      Merry Christmas, Mark.

      • Mark says


        Thanks for your thoughtful response. I admit I didn’t get much past the title of the post and was probably overzealous in an accusation of denigrating the Savior. For that I humbly ask forgiveness.

        Yet, I still hold that it was wholly unnecessary to have such an offensive (or perhaps polarizing?) title to start with. Frankly it reminds me of the headlines mainstream media uses simply for the shock value. I suppose on this we may just need to disagree.

        I do however agree with the essence of your post. We must keep God and family first and let the worries of this world be secondary. Let’s also work to keep the Holy holy and God high and lifted up.

        God Bless.

        • says

          I will gladly accept polarizing as a very apt description, and I think we will just have to disagree on its appropriateness.

          Thanks for the exchange, brother. I never want to offend anyone needlessly, and I sincerely appreciate your response.

          God bless you, as well.

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