Expectations of a “perfect” Christmas are unrealistic. An ideal family in a picture perfect holiday around the hearth is a fantasy that does little more than set us up for disappointment and depression. We are flawed people with human failings, in times that are certain only to change from one moment to the next.
It is in our imperfection that Jesus came to show us what we could become, to save us from ourselves and to inspire joy even in our inevitable disappointments. So rejoice! All we are, all we have, is enough for the only One who is truly the picture of perfection.
Look through old photographs of happy holidays past. Enjoy the memories of family and friends, feel the warmth of those moments, laugh, cry, let the emotion come out and envelop you. Write down any expectations for this current holiday season that may be making you feel sad or that you know are unattainable. Perhaps you have lost a loved one this past year, or your financial situation has worsened, or you are simply separated from family. Write it all down, pour out your sorrow, fears, anger onto the paper. Pray over it, asking that God would take it into His hands and give you peace. Then find a safe place to burn your list (a fireplace or outdoor chimenea or grill). As those expectations melt away, thank God for the joys of the past and pray for new traditions and experiences that will make your future just as special in a different way.
Sue Breland, Worship For One: Advent Emmanuel ©