He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Psalm 40:3a

Monday, November 30, 2015

Christmas Expectations

         In a group discussion one Sunday afternoon, a couple asked for prayers for their family get together during the holidays.  It seems they were having an “event” at their home and whenever the family came together, it often ended with hostility or at least sharp words exchanged between two or more family members.  Some family members even chose to avoid the gathering completely because of the ill feelings and others would attend but would give the person they had an issue with, a very wide berth!

         Even in our own family, there are times when family members choose to make other plans during a family event to avoid attendance.  There is a history between some members who can’t seem to come to grips with the situation and even years after the occurrence are unable to be in the same room with out the hackles on the back of their neck rising!

          The Christmas holiday is officially upon us and celebrations are part of the season tradition!  We each in our own minds, have personal expectations.  We decorate our homes and trees, sign Christmas cards and address envelopes, cook unbelievable desserts, clean our house better than any other time of year and still we wonder if we’ve done enough!

         Aside from that, we dream of what we might get for Christmas from our loved ones or even wonder what is inside those beautifully wrapped boxes and ask if it’s possible any contain what we really, really want.  And on the other side of the equation, as we wrap gifts for others, we wonder if we’ve bought the right, or even perfect gift, for the recipient, or the reverse: will they even like the gift we've chosen?

         Why are we so consumed with “perfection” at Christmas?  I was at "that place" some years ago.  My Christmases as a child weren’t stellar and as my own children were growing I stressed myself into a state every year!  It got so bad, I would lose my voice for the duration of the season!  It took some amount of counseling to finally realize the problem with my loss of voice was stress!  I didn’t recognize it for what it really was!  And before we finally discovered the culprit, I worried about the lack of voice, causing even greater stress! 

         My situation isn’t unique.  As humans, Christians and non-Christians alike, we put the emphasis of Christmas on all the glitz and trimmings instead of where it truly belongs: on Jesus, the Christ Child.  So when we put our focus on the material side of the holiday we’ve completely missed the point!

         So I challenge you during the next few weeks, as Christmas Day draws nearer, to take a few moments every day to just Stop!  Reflect on why you are celebrating this holiday.  Is the glitz and glitter getting in the way of the real reason we are supposed to be celebrating?  What is blocking your view?  Then take it a step further and make a genuine effort to change your perspective!  Remember that “Jesus truly is the reason for the season!”