Tuesday, December 27, 2016

When Christmas Is Not Picture Perfect

Have you ever read someone’s Christmas blog post or seen perfect Facebook pictures/statuses or Christmas card letters that oooh-ed and ahhhh-ed about life and family and thought to yourself, "Wow, I sure don’t feel/look/live like that right now at all!  They all look so happy!"

Just look at these picture perfect kids of ours!!!
My last post talked all about how great everything was.  I shared that I was so excited about kids coming and the mess and the chaos.  I raved about how precious the quiet was and what a blessing going to church on Christmas was and on and on.  You can read it here if you are so inclined.

It was all true…every bit of what I said was true. 

But there is more that wasn’t said.


Terrible thoughts I had that were not spoken or written.  Not all were lingering thoughts.  But fleeting, selfish, sinful thoughts.

  • Is this Jesus’ really real?
  • Sure would like to stay home.  Alone. 
  • Church messes up our traditional Christmas morning.
  • What if what we are giving them isn’t enough?
  • Why am I the only one who does all of the shopping and wrapping and cooking and preparing for Christmas?  Why doesn’t he help more?
  • Why doesn’t our relationship look like that one on the Hallmark movie channel?
There have been years where I had no aspirations to put up any Christmas decorations or even a tree because discouragement seemed to overtake any desire.  No parties or events were hosted in our home.  No cards were sent.  Gifts were wrapped but there were no ribbons or bows.  I did the bare minimum.

There have also been years where our house was decked from head to toe, so to speak.  We sent out (I mean, I sent out…no we about it if I’m honest) Christmas cards and hosted multiple events….including church-wide open houses.  I made Christmas dresses and baked cookies and wrapped presents with beautiful bows.

We love hosting staff Christmas dinners in our home….cooking and serving and loving on each one gives us much joy.  It has traditionally been a time of joy and laughter and memories.  Sadly, because of having to reduce staff for budgetary reasons, we went through a season of grieving and loss and discouragement and I just wasn’t up to doing the dinners.

Thankfully, this year was different!!  We had most of our staff and spouses over for dinner.  A miracle!!  Years change.  Years change us.

I guess what I want to say is this:  If this is a hard year for you…for whatever reason…you are not alone.  If you don’t love all of this Christmas stuff….it is OK.  Give yourself much grace.  If you don’t want to spend any more time with relatives or people in general….take a break.  If you want to be alone….I get it. 

If your life and thoughts are less than Godly…so are mine.  Forgive us Lord!  Turn our hearts and minds and will toward You!

My life sometimes might look picture perfect.  Or sound picture perfect.  Trust me…it is not. 

Christmas celebrations (or lack-there-of) can sometimes be hard.  or disappointing.  Or lonely.  Family can be hard or disappointing or annoying.  People can be.  Traffic can be.  Recipes gone wrong can be. 

So what do we do when Christmas (or any part of life for that matter) is disappointing?  As far as I can tell I have two choices:  Be disappointed or be pointed to Christ.  I can run this race with my eyes and mind on the scenery or other runners, or I can fix my eyes and mind on Jesus.  Isn’t it amazing how when we do that everything else grows strangely dim….even disappointment and less than perfect pictures.


Sara said...

And this my friend is why I love you! Open! Honest! It was an off year. I decorated the church, I planned advent for our congregation, I decorated our home and my office, I bought gifts, but it never really hit me that it was Christmas until our family took the time to attend a Christmas concert on the 23rd. I think we give so much we forget to get. We needed the family time, the worship, the carefree. Every year I say not again, but it seems nothing ever changes. I read somewhere if Satan can't make you bad he will make you busy. So often in my life he wins!

Dana said...

And this, my friend, is why I love you!!!