In just a few days the climax of this busy time will be over and for most of you – you will be exhausted and disappointed. Somehow, no matter how hard you worked, your Christmas celebration will not meet your expectations. For some of you, you will be really disappointed with your husband, your children and yourselves.
It is easy to believe the lies the media have fed us. The commercials lead us into believing that our Christmas happiness depend upon receiving amazing gifts from our husbands presented in romantic settings , perfectly dressed children who are thankful for each gift received and homes where flawless decorations produce happy families.
When Bill and I started dating, I remember sharing with him how much I loved Christmas – the shopping, decorating, baking and all of it. He was definitely not as excited as I was and I remember hoping he would change his feelings about Christmas. Then, when our daughters were younger, I had really high expectations of Christmas. I expected too much from my family and I was disappointed when my expectations were not met. There were Christmas seasons with sick kids, disappointment with gifts and exhaustion from all the preparations. Although, I loved Christmas – I think that I actually loved my dream of Christmas more than the actual experience. So when the dream did not come true as I anticipated, I was frustrated, angry and disappointed.
Now as I anticipate Christmas in a few days, I look forward to spending time with my family. I still have 3 (yes, count them 3), Christmas Trees, cookies are baked and there are presents waiting to be wrapped. But I have changed — Christmas is still a very special time for me, but in many ways I have let go of the expectations. This year, I want to treasure each moment. I want to enjoy the laughter of my daughters together, the conversation around our table and my husband’s winks at me. I want to truly ponder the birth of my Savior, Emmanuel – God with me and dwell upon this amazing gift. I want to lose the dream of a perfect Christmas and appreciate the recognizable gifts that have been given to me… my relationship with my God, my husband, my family, and my friends.
May I encourage each of you to take a moment to examine your expectations – will you still appreciate Christmas if things don’t go as planned? Can you allow your kids to mess up their Christmas outfits and to be cranky and tired? Will you examine your heart to see if you love the dream of Christmas more than you love the actual experience?
It will soon be over – the presents will be opened, the cookies will be eaten and the tree will look disheveled – all you will have will be your memories and the gift of Emmanuel who came to provide salvation. Enjoy Christmas for what it truly is – Recognizable moments God has provided us to Remember the gift of His Son and the treasured memories of our families.
Love to each of you….