I am pleased to have my very talented husband as a guest poster today! Be blessed as he shares what to do when chaos crushes your high expectations for Christmas.
Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior. Titus 3:5-6
I love Christmas. I mean, I really love Christmas. My most cherished childhood memories all revolve around Christmases spent in a light brown, stucco bungalow at 444 Angelus in Memphis, TN. When it comes to how Christmas ought to look and feel and taste and sound, my sweet grandparents set the bar extremely high!
With each approaching Christmas season, the fondness of Christmases past flood my mind, and I'm determined to recapture some of that Memphis magic! In my mind, if things are done just right, Christmas can be perfect and maybe - just maybe - I'll feel a little bit of the wonder once again.
And so, I resolve to make it happen!
I resolve to get my shopping done early, while at the same time resolving not to focus on the giving and receiving of gifts. I resolve to not overspend, yet I resolve to be generous. I resolve to make time for everyone, while also resolving to make sure not to overextend myself.
I resolve to allow for moments of sacred intimacy with my Maker and quiet reflection upon the indescribable gift He gave, but then...
Before I know it, Christmas has come and gone in a whirlwind of packages and bows, casseroles and cookies, receipts and returns, carols and conflicts.
Nothing fits right. Nothing works right. Nothing hooks up without a $20 doohickey from Radio Shack.
Nothing bridges the disconnect caused by time and distance. Nothing eases the strain of that relationship that no longer fits any of the traditional molds. Nothing hushes the whispered thoughts that I don't belong, and worse, that I'm unworthy of belonging.
And I'm left with feelings of disappointment and guilt...and maybe even shame.
How dare I be ungrateful for the crummy gifts I got! How dare I be insensitive to the time demanded of me by my hyper-extended families! How dare I become obsessed with my decorating and schedules and parties and giving and getting and eating and eating and eating! How dare I forget Jesus during the celebration of His birth!
If I might be so brave as to confess to you, a couple of days ago I was beginning to feel all of the aforementioned bad stuff, wondering why my best-laid plans were failing, why relationships are so complicated, and why I couldn't be a "good Christian" for Jesus on His birthday when it hit me:
That's why He came - that's what Christmas is all about! Because we needed Him to come down and do what we could not, not even for one day out of the year!
So the next time I mess it up big time, the next time I sin, the next time Christmas isn't everything it ought to be, the next time I let the events of the season overshadow the emergence of the Savior, I'm not going to burden myself or anyone else with false guilt or unrealistic expectations. I'll just go to God, and then I'll thank Him for Christmas, when He accomplished everything I couldn't and paved the way for reconciliation with Him through the gift of His Son.