Christian Living

Spiritual Life

Don't Let the Grinch Steal Your Christmas Joy

CBN.com -

"They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness" (Psalm 145:7, NIV).

What does hearing the word "Christmas" bring to your mind? Caroling and joyful family reunionsor last-minute gift searches and fights with your teenagers?

As a recovering perfectionist, Ive had many celebrations that fell short of my expectations. That led to disappointment, discontent, and sometimes depression. Not a great way to start the New Year!

But now I realize that perfectionism is a dangerous hobbya Grinch who can only steal my joy if I let him. Really, whats the worst that can happen if I dont have a perfect tree, a ten-course meal for all my relatives, or a stunning Christmas card (that I got in the mail by Thanksgiving) to 500 of my closest friends?

However, I cant stick my head in a hole for three months and ignore Christmas. Besides, I really love the seasonI just dont care for the unrealistic picture of perfection that so many people (me included) often harbor.

So what are we busy wives and moms to do? First, we need to see through Gods eyes and give ourselves, and others, mercy and grace. Thats what Christmas is all about, anywayGods giving us mercy and grace in the form of a swaddled infant.

Second, we need to ask ourselves who we really want to pleaseothers or God?

In Lion and Lamb, Brennan Manning says: "Letting the expectations of others act as a subtle but controlling pressure on our Advent preparation and Christmas celebration is people-pleasing enthrallment."

Finally, we need to recapture the awesome love and immense hope found in the Christmas story. Thenand only thencan we plan a celebration full of meaning and joy.

Manning says it best: "Christmas means that God has given us nothing less than Himself and His name is Jesus Christ. Be unwilling to settle for anything less . . . Dont come with a thimble when God has nothing less to give you than the ocean of Himself. Dont be contented with a nice Christmas . . . Pray, go to work, play Trivial Pursuit, eat banana bread, exchange presents, go caroling, feed the hungry, comfort the lonely, and do all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Lord, help me to let go of unrealistic expectations and, instead, focus on celebrating Your goodness this season.

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Copyright 2001 Dena J. Dyer. Used by permission. Dena Dyer is a freelance writer, speaker and musician from Granbury, Texas. Visit her Web site at: denadyer.com.





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