Last year’s holiday season was rough for Lisa-Jo Baker, she admits in her blog post When Your Holidays are Having a Hard Time Keeping Up With The Joneses.
“I’ve seen the pictures. The perfect tree, the perfect mantle, the perfect advent calendar countdown experience for the kids. In the past it has made me look around our house with dissatisfied eyes.
I’ve worried about what I am not giving my kids. And then I’ve worried about giving them too much. I’ve swallowed down the impulse to rush around instituting a rash of new family traditions that seem to make other families so happy and fulfilled. I don’t bake or quilt or have the time or real desire to make an advent calendar from scratch. I am not a photographer or a crafter. But I’ve compared nonetheless.”
Stuck in an endless cycle of comparison trap, dissatisfaction, and weariness, she knew she needed to re-focus on the breathtaking simplicity of the Christmas story, of the advent season.
“[T]his year I’ve breathed better.
Because I am deliberately remembering.
I am making the time to remember whose I am, rather than who I don’t compare to.
I remember that my expectations are not important to the God who came to us wrapped in the unexpected vulnerability of a baby. His expectations are what matter.
I am readjusting my sights. I am shifting my vision. From me to Him. From my perspective to His.
I see this life we have differently when I see it through the eyes of the One who gave it to us.”
iBelieve.com blogger Asheritah Ciuciu shares a similar poignant moment that helped her let go of the “avalanche of advice on how to stay fit during the holidays, how to save money during shopping, and how to peacefully navigate family get-togethers without starting world war three.”
“[I]n the midst of it all, I feel a gentle tug at my heart.
I'm busy, Lord. Don't you see my list is a mile long?
Put it down. Come to Me.
I wish I had time. Really, I do. But things don't get done by themselves.
Trust Me. All will be well. Just come.
*sigh* Ok. I'll come. But I only have five minutes.
Leave the phone behind. Turn off the computer. Just BE with Me. Be still. I long to spend time with you. I want you to leave your burdens here. Quiet your soul. Come out of the rush of your day to just. Be. Still.
Cautiously, gingerly, I tiptoe my way to the throne of grace and gently lay my head on His lap.
And the commotion stills.”
Asheritah is discovering advent this year with Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional. Lisa-Jo is going through Ann Voskamp’s Unwrapping the Greatest Gift: A Family Celebration of Christmas with her children, and lighting one candle each day in December.
Cara Joyner, another iBelieve blogger, is laying down three ground rules for herself this Christmas season:
- Be honest
- Love your budget, and
- Unplug and build memories, not snapshots.
“Give yourself and those you love one gift this holiday season – your presence. Slow down. Keep it simple. Invest in experiences. Love the gift God has already given you, because as we all know, it is more than enough.”
How is your heart feeling leading up to Thanksgiving, advent season, and Christmas? Have you struggled with the Christmas comparison trap also? Don’t forget to read more encouragement from Crosswalk’s special channels on Thanksgiving and Christmas!
Debbie Holloway is the Family Life editor at Crosswalk.com
Publication date: November 26, 2014