Letting go of the perfect Christmas (from the archives)

Monday, December 21, 2015

This year I am thankful that I have been prepared and haven't stressed out about making Christmas perfect or getting everyone the perfect gifts but for those of you who are feeling the pressure or putting it on yourselves I've been there. This post from last year is for you.

So for some reason I didn't think Christmas was for two weeks yet...then I looked at the calendar and it's next week! Hit the panic button!

I thought I was doing pretty good. I have most of  my Christmas presents bought, made and wrapped.(phew!) But there are still a lot of things I want to make and do. I don't have to but I want to. I genuinely love making and giving gifts...it's one of ways I show love but there is another part of me that has other intentions.
There is no one putting pressure on me telling me I have to have everything perfect for Christmas but there is a little voice inside me whispering prideful, self-centered lies.

They sound something like this:

"If you don't make all handmade gifts for your friends and family they won't think you are an amazing superwoman."

"If you don't make and buy your kids the coolest presents they won't think you are the best mom in the world."

"If you don't go above and beyond what is expected of a mother of five you will just be average."

"If you don't make homemade cookies and ornaments and blog about it all, your kids won't have any good memories."

But here is what Jesus tells me:

"You don't have to prove anything to anyone. I accept you, love you...despite your failures and despite your accomplishments."

"I came to earth as a helpless baby to show you that you also are helpless without me."

"I delight when you realize your weaknesses and look to me to give you strength."

"I am glorified when you show your children why you celebrate my birth; by giving to them and others even when you receive nothing back and when you feel like you don't have anything left to give."

Choosing to hear his voice instead of my own is so freeing. It gives me joy and hope in the midst of my daily chaos. It helps me to let go of the idea of a "perfect" Christmas. The birth of Jesus was anything but perfect. The only thing that was perfect about it was Jesus!

So even though I truly love all the Christmas traditions and look forward to keeping some this season(and blogging about them), I am going to try to stop stressing out when everything doesn't go perfectly.

When the house doesn't look like a Christmas post card because my kids decided to bring ALL the dirt from our yard into our house!

When the hours in the day just won't fit all the baking and crafting I want to do because it takes me ALL... DAY... LONG to do the laundry and put it away.

When I can't get ANYTHING done without the baby hanging on my legs or on my hip because well,  he IS the baby.

When I am trying to make lasting memories with my children by listening to Christmas music and making a gingerbread house but a fight breaks out because one of the kids didn't get to put the candy decorations where they wanted and now crying and whining is clashing with the Christmas music and ruining the mood.

Does this sound like your house also? Well it's perfectly normal!

As I write this my busy, needy 1 year old is finally asleep in my arms. Quiet and content... for a little while at least, reminding me of how on Christmas I am sure Mary was just thankful and relieved to have finally given birth to her baby... the Savior of the world.  Wrapped tightly in his blankets to keep him asleep, Mary must have held him close and then heaved a sigh of relief as she lay him in the manger; cherishing the quiet and peace after a long eventful day!

Cherish this season, make memories, enjoy making or buying gifts, bake and eat lots of cookies, listen to Christmas music... but don't let your quest for the perfect Christmas steal your joy. If you are like me( perfectly imperfect) you will stress yourself and your family out trying to attain it; because it just isn't possible when you are made of flesh and bone.

Jesus, the only perfect one exchanged his heavenly glory for our earthly shame. He is acquainted with our weaknesses and knows our sorrows. He knows our struggles and joys. He knows all that we expect of ourselves and our families. He knows that those expectations will not all be met because he is the only one who can meet our needs and exceed our expectations!

He is the greatest gift we could ever receive or give!

So as we go about our day just trying to keep our family alive and house somewhat clean plus checking off our to do list before Christmas, let's remember why we are doing what we are doing. Letting go of any pressure we have unnecessarily put upon ourselves and enjoy having a imperfect Christmas as we celebrate the birth of our perfect Savior!

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross." Philippians 2:5-8

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