Christmas is right around the corner. Is your heart beating like you just ran a 5k? Are you having a bit of trouble falling asleep as you mentally add new items to your “to do” list? Does the sound of Christmas music make you anxious instead of joyful? Do the Instagram pictures of others’ houses beautifully decorated for the holidays make you feel ho…ho…hopeless?
For me, the answer to those questions would be a definite “yes”! Every year for many years I entered this “Season” with unmistakable tension and moments of panic. My husband calls it “pinging”.
This is the bounce-off-the-wall thing I do when I feel overwhelmed about an event coming up. It’s the worst in December. A month filled with anxiety over baking, decking the halls, entertaining, presents, and creating special Christmas memories for everyone.
If you asked me, I would have said I was doing all of it so that everyone close to me would have a perfect Christmas. In case you haven’t heard, there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas.
Do you get caught up in the latest holiday decorating ideas that would make you the envy of your neighbors? Or do you buy the newest tech gadgets for your husband, so he will think you’re awesome? Perhaps you scour the internet to find THE toy or game for your child that no one else can track down? Or maybe you bake 20 bazillion cookies to deliver to your neighbors and every essential worker in your county? Or…you get the idea.
Although I never consciously thought of it this way, I believe I wanted to be seen as the very best Mother-Wife-Friend-Neighbor that God ever put on the earth. Friends let me tell you – that is not the right way to approach the holidays. That desire is based on the need for approval from others in order to feel good about myself.
I’ve decided this year will be different.
I want to savor the time I get to spend with family and friends without worrying about whether the food or decorations are “just right”.
I plan to buy gifts out of love for those who will receive them, not out of fear that it won’t be the “perfect” gift.
I want to listen to and enjoy the beautiful music written and sung in praise of the One who was born to save the world.
This year I want to truly experience the joyful season of celebrating Christ’s birth with those I love the most.
In order to change my attitude (and my heart), here are a few things I plan to remind myself often:
1. Things will get done. Prioritize so the most important things get done first. Losing sleep over what is still on the long list of things to do, doesn’t get them done.
2. Decorate the house moderately. Last year’s decorations are just fine. The newest color scheme or fad isn’t necessary. No one is judging us based on how much or how little you decorate. Put out/up the items that make you happy.
3. Things will not be perfect and that is ok. The cookies might be a little overdone, or the bows on the garland aren’t exactly the same size, or some of the lights on the tree don’t work. It is not a reflection of our value as a person.
4. There is no such thing as the perfect gift for someone. Think about each person and what he/she might like. Then get that. Done.
5. Most importantly, make time every day to be alone with God. He is the one whose approval matters most.
Maybe you need to remind yourself of some of these thoughts too. I hope it will help you approach the season in a new way. May December be a good month, filled with joy and excitement! Let the fun begin!
Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ. Galatians 1:10