It’s the first week of December and I already feel I’m way behind. And if I’m honest, there is a corner of my heart that is already a bit disappointed. Because I know, deep down, no matter how hard I try, my Christmas will not look like the holiday I long for.
Friends assure me I’m not alone. So where does this let-down feeling come from? And how do we get rid of it and reclaim our joy?
I think we start by identifying the joy-stealing lies that slip into our thinking.
Lie #1: Christmas is supposed to be “perfect”
We all have a picture in our hearts of what the holiday season is “supposed” to look like, don’t we?
Then there’s reality. We take our already crazy schedules and add all the holiday “must do’s.” Budgeting and shopping, baking and parties, decorating, practices, meetings and utter madness.
Until somewhere, in those quiet moments before we fall exhausted into bed, we wonder where we went wrong.
I think joy slips out the back door when we buy into the lie of a “perfect” holiday. There is no such animal and trying to create one will make us crazy and steal our joy.
Let’s ditch the expectations and realize nobody gets a perfect Christmas, not even the Son of God. I’m sure giving birth in a stable wasn’t Mary’s idea of the perfect setting.
Lie #2: Assuming everyone else’s life is card-worthy
I admit it. Hallmark commercials make me cry and their movies are generally a two-hankie special.
But here’s the thing. We watch the movies and commercials and get the idea that somehow, everyone but us is living these amazing, perfect, card-worthy moments. Every. Single. Minute.
Meanwhile, we’re racing around, sucked into the constant, never-ending push to do more. Bigger. Better.
Can we just stop? Just stop. Breathe.
We can’t possibly live a never-ending stream of perfect moments. We’re setting ourselves up for heartache if we try.
Some years, Christmastime is harder on our hearts than others. Financial setbacks. Job loss. Illness. Death. Family struggles. Broken relationships. We all deal with them at different times, but never is the glaring contrast between what we wish for and what we’re living more apparent than during this season.
So let’s think smaller, not bigger.
Focus on moments, on the pockets of joy in the midst of the insanity and madness.
Be present. Be aware. Look for those moments.
Jesus’ mother Mary understood this. Amidst all the crazy stuff happening in her world, despite her fear and uncertainty, twice the Bible says, “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19, 51)
I get that. I have mental snapshots of those unexpectedly perfect, never-to-be-repeated-or-forgotten moments that I tuck close and treasure. The ones I remember when plans go awry and the house is too quiet.
If you’re in a good place this holiday season, look around for someone who needs a hug, a card, a few cookies, a helping hand. Hug family and friends every single time you have the chance.
If your heart is hurting this season, please consider yourself hugged. You are not alone. Join me in looking to the star in the East and turning our hearts toward the imperfect manger that held the perfect Son of God.
That’s where LOVE reached down and HOPE was born. The same HOPE that still whispers, “You are loved.”
If you’re looking for a fun Christmas-y read, I hope you’ll read my short e-book, The Christmas Gift . You can get it FREE if you sign up for my newsletter, or order it for $.99. I hope you’ll let me know what you think of it.
Oh, and I have a super-fun new project in the works I can’t wait to share with you! Details will be in my newsletter first, so I hope you’ll sign up.
And if you enjoyed Angel Falls, can I humbly suggest that Brooks and Regina’s story would make a great Christmas gift?
Until next week, enjoy moments…and look for pockets of joy!