I know the holidays are beautiful and fun and meaningful, as we prepare our hearts to celebrate Christmas. I’m seeing “It” everywhere; the modern day Christmas cheer. My social media feeds show me perfectly decorated homes, happy moms baking with their kids, husbands buying their wives jewelry, big families gathered around the immaculately adorned tables, friends buying expensive and thoughtful gifts for each other, and the list goes on.
I’m not denying that this cheer is real. I’m just saying we may play it up to be a little bit more ‘perfect’ than it really is.
When I think of the mom snapping a picture of her magazine worthy Christmas tree with matching ornaments and garland (not a sentimental childhood ornament to be found), I have to wonder how many times she hollered at her little children to not touch her masterpiece. I’m not sure, the posts never say, and I don’t dare ask!
Full disclaimer: If I “nail it” with something this Christmas, whether it be perfect cookies, well dressed kids, whatever, I am going to post it. I’m sorry. Please don’t think that whatever I post is the whole story.
Example: Last weekend as we were getting ready for the Christmas program, my youngest insisted she was going to wear a puffy white tutu and her black yoga pants. I insisted she wasn’t. After some tears we compromised and she was able to wear it under her dress that I picked out. You can’t tell it in the pictures we snapped, but I promise you it’s there.
The internet doesn’t always tell you the whole story. I know you moms already know this, I just think it’s worth being reminded of.
That doesn’t mean everyone is a fraud, it just means they aren’t as prefect as you’re imagining them to be, so don’t be so down on yourself!
I decided not to put up my BIG Christmas tree this year. I told my husband it was just too much for me right now. We have a pre-lit 5 foot tree that is taking its place, and although it isn’t as big and beautiful as our original tree, it’s doing the trick. I feel joy when I look at it, and that’s what I’m searching for this Christmas; for JOY.
It’s just that other tree is SO BIG. There’s no denying that it’s beautiful, but I feel like it’s all for show. It takes SO much work to set it up, it takes up so much space, and when two different people asked if I was going to put it in my window again, I knew I just couldn’t do it. That’s not what this season is about to me. It’s about Jesus, and I get the way other people are honoring Him with their amazing trees and perfect homes, but that’s not how I’m doing it.
That doesn’t mean I’m right, or they’re right. It’s just how it is.
I know it’s easy to feel sad and depressed this time of year over absolutely anything and the reasons aren’t silly or unjustified; the loss of a loved one, family quarrels, money, too many people to buy for, no one to buy for, etc.
That first Christmas after my MIL passed away was R.O.U.G.H. It’s gotten easier, but my heart still breaks a little each time I see my husband missing his mom and her traditions.
Each gathering as we peel potatoes we laugh about his mom shoving 20 lbs of potato peels down the garbage disposal and needing to send a couple guys to go buy a clean plunger to unplug the sink. The house was full of about 20 people waiting to eat. Oh we laugh and laugh about it, and then we go silent and tear up.
To each of you who are hurting at Christmas, I want you to know that I’m praying you find a way to experience a cheerful heart. I am praying that God shows you JOY. I’m praying for a renewed spirit around what this season is all about. I’m praying you don’t feel alone, especially when you’re surrounded by people.
Please don’t feel like you have to out do anyone, or even yourself. If you need to take a time out, do it. If you need to buy your cookies rather than bake them, do it. If you don’t love doing crafts with your kids, don’t do it.
Do what works for you, and know that may not work for everyone.