December – a month that seems to spin by in a whirlwind. We blink and before we know it Christmas has come and gone. Every year I vow that THIS year will be different. THIS year I will slow down and savor the quiet moments. THIS year I won’t allow the stress to get to me. THIS year I will put the whole reason for the season, Jesus, first.
Ah but those things don’t every really come to pass like I imagine. I scramble to get all the gifts bought and wrapped. I hurry to get all of our Christmas cards in the mail. In a frenzy I run here and there with those last-minute errands.
One thing that I am learning is that there is a twelve-letter word that can break us. This word can make all the beautiful things around us look dull. This one word can create stress. And if we are not careful, this one word can ruin our Christmas.
What is the word? … Expectations.
We all have expectations surrounding Christmas. We have conscious or subconscious thoughts about Christmas (and the month of December in general) of how we expect things to go. Sometimes our expectations are set too high and cannot be reached. In the end, this will only cause us to feel disappointment and more stress.
One of the things we all love about the holidays are traditions. It might be baking with our loved ones, setting up a Christmas village, singing Christmas carols, an ugly sweater contest, or Aunt Betty’s fruit cake.
Well I say we start a new tradition – let go of our expectations.
So what if we don’t get all the Christmas cards out right after Thanksgiving? So what if we get to bed late because we are up wrapping gifts? So what if we have to bring a store bought instead a homemade cake to the holiday party?
All of these things that seem flawed really make up the perfect Christmas. What a blessing that we have family and friends to send cards to (even if they are later than we’d like). What a blessing that we had the money to buy those gifts (that kept us up late wrapping). And what a blessing that we will be fellowshipping with friends (even though we didn’t have the time to make a homemade cake).
When we let go of our expectations, we begin to see the blessings that are right in front of us. And this includes the ultimate blessing – Jesus. The Prince of Peace. God’s Word in the flesh. Emmanuel. Our God with us. When we stop and linger on the miracle that came down from heaven to save us, all of our expectations seem to fade away.
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and blessed New Year!