Have you been striving to create a “perfect Christmas” for everyone to the point that it’s causing more problems than blessings? We confess that we have been there in the past. In our pursuit of excellence, we’ve sometimes gone overboard. And it just doesn’t work. It’s exhausting, and it’s frustrating for everyone in the household. Your spouse and other family members would no doubt, want a peaceful Christmas much more than a perfect one. That’s what we finally realized.
As much as we wish it could be different, we just can’t do it all. It’s a trap if we believe otherwise. Let’s face it:
“At Christmastime, there’s just so much to do. There’s picking out the perfect tree, finding the perfect gifts, hosting the perfect party, and planning the perfect Christmas meal. These are all wonderful things, but the quest for the perfect Christmas can turn overwhelming and stressful. Lay down your need for perfection. Remember that Christ came because we aren’t perfect.” (Christina Vinson)
That’s so true. If we were perfect Jesus wouldn’t have had to be born on this earth. But we aren’t perfect, and as a result, we often need to do some deconstructing of our expectations.
The Perfect Christmas?
“Without a doubt, this Christmas isn’t going to be perfect. We probably can’t all be together like we normally would be. Financially, we might not be able to afford what we used to be able to buy, wrap, and put under the tree. But perfection isn’t the goal anyway. Jesus is the center. He is the focus. He is the reason. We can rejoice in Him, right?” (Christina Vinson)
That is our goal, and we hope it is your goal too.
“What we need to do is remarkably simple: put down the burden of the perfect Christmas and accept the freedom of the real Christmas. We can gather around the manger with people who have problems, like Joseph and Mary, with hard-living people like the Bethlehem shepherds. Here imperfect people like you and me find a surprising acceptance.” (Charles Hoffacker)
And that can be refreshing! There are so many demands upon us in this imperfect world that pull us back and forth. But God wants to love us through it all. We can find acceptance in Him through all that Jesus Christ did for us. And we can find help through His Holy Spirit. So, why do we strive so hard for acceptance? And why do we strive so hard to create the perfect Christmas for everyone in our life?
There are so many different reasons.
Here’s an insight Sabrina McDonald gives in her article, “How to Have the ‘Perfect Christmas”:
“Ask anyone to describe his or her ‘perfect Christmas,’ and every description would be different. There’s nothing wrong with excitement about Christmas; it is a joyous occasion. But when one starts to try to create or expect Christmas to be the way he imagines it to be, that’s where the trouble starts.
“…The truth is that the real holiday experience will never live up to the potential in our imaginations. There will be last-minute changes, money issues, presents that don’t quite hit the mark, etc., but that’s not bad. There is no such thing as the perfect Christmas. What makes it perfect is keeping focused on what it’s meant to be—a celebration of the Life that came from heaven and changed the world.”
Sabrina talks about “the Christmas Lie” and the “culprits” that she’s struggled with (like many of us have). But there is one that many especially get hung up on—we want to reenact Christmas memories of the past. These are memories that morph a bit with time. We want to relive or realign them, so they fit better with the image of Christmas we are trying to create in our marriages. Sabrina calls this culprit:
“The ghost of Christmas past: Putting away childish things”
She wrote the following on this issue, which struck a (Christmas) bell with us:
“When we allow Christmas memories to [negatively] dictate our expectations of the present holidays, it’s time to let go of the old, and get ready for the new. The apostle Paul alludes to this same transition from past to present in 1 Corinthians 13:11, saying, “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.”
“As adults, we should recognize what is in the past and let it stay in the past. Those times were good and should be learned from and cherished. But the present holds the potential to bring new experiences to treasure.
“Allow your Christmases to transform from year to year. This year, put away the old memories in a mental photo album and embrace the changes that occur. Then enjoy watching as God turns these unexpected adjustments into new memories that will last a lifetime.” (From the article, How to Have the Perfect Christmas)
That’s great counsel! As we look towards celebrating the birth of our savior, we hope this Marriage Insight will serve as a friendly reminder. Keep this time of celebrating in perspective. It won’t be perfect, but it can be good… so very good. That’s true even if you’re experiencing pain amidst the Christmas joy.
A Painful Christmas?
“When Christmas doesn’t feel perfect, when our lives in general aren’t perfect… because let’s be honest, they NEVER will be this side of heaven… when we can’t figure out what God is up to or where He is in the challenges, remember that First Christmas.
… If we are required to travel a distance to see family and the trip becomes grueling…
… If we are challenged by the discomforts of what is required of us…
… If we are wondering, ‘Where are you God?’ And we’re thinking, ‘This couldn’t possibly be the plan or what you had in mind!’
… remember Joseph and Mary and that First Christmas. And remember, when everything seemed so wrong, God was right there in the midst of it. He could not have been any closer to them. Remember, He is Emmanuel—God WITH us. He is closer than we think. The perfect Christmas isn’t found in what goes on around us, it is found in the One who is with us.“ (Mark Gungor, from his article, “The Secret to a Perfect Christmas”)
So, here’s the bottom Line:
You probably know this; but just in case here’s a friendly reminder. There’s no such thing as a “perfect” Christmas. There is a perfect God, Holy Spirit, and Jesus; but when any human being is involved perfection goes out the door. We can strive to be perfect, and to make things perfect; but only God can create perfection. So, as you make your Christmas preparations, do what is reasonable, let go of the excess, and strive to enjoy the celebration.
Don’t make yourself, your spouse, family and friends go crazy, causing stress for everyone involved. Instead, strive for meaning, peaceful interactions, gratitude for all God makes available, and enjoy! Enjoy this season of celebrating the birth of Christ together. Let go of the excesses. Let go of unnecessary expectations and celebrate as God would have you.
If you go overboard and mess up, go back; and do what you should to reconcile the matter. Apply the principles of the Bible in your interactions. What would Jesus have you do? Afterall, we ARE celebrating His birthday! So, how do you think He would have you enjoy this CHRISTmas season? If He is at the center, you will do well! You will have as close to a perfect CHRISTmas as you can have on this side of Heaven. That is our prayer for you.
Cindy and Steve Wright
— Something to Enjoy —
For a fun addition to your Christmas/New Years celebration, click into the picture below of the Christmas bell and you’ll have access to use some fun, free games, puzzles, quizzes, etc…
— ADDITIONALLY —
To help you further, we give a lot of personal stories, humor, and more practical tips in our book, 7 ESSENTIALS to Grow Your Marriage. We hope you will pick up a copy for yourself. (It’s available both electronically and in print form.) Plus, it can make a great gift for someone else. It gives you the opportunity to help them grow their marriage. And who doesn’t need that? Just click on the linked title or the picture below:
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