Dont Let the Grinch
Steal Your Christmas Joy
By Dena J. Dyer
"They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of
your righteousness" (Psalm 145:7, NIV).
What does hearing the word "Christmas" bring to your mind? Caroling
and joyful family reunionsor last-minute gift searches and fights with
As a recovering perfectionist, Ive had many celebrations that fell
short of my expectations. That led to disappointment, discontent, and sometimes
depression. Not a great way to start the New Year!
But now I realize that perfectionism is a dangerous hobbya Grinch who
can only steal my joy if I let him. Really, whats the worst that can
happen if I dont have a perfect tree, a ten-course meal for all my relatives,
or a stunning Christmas card (that I got in the mail by Thanksgiving) to 500
of my closest friends?
However, I cant stick my head in a hole for three months and ignore
Christmas. Besides, I really love the seasonI just dont care for
the unrealistic picture of perfection that so many people (me included) often
So what are we busy wives and moms to do? First, we need to see through Gods
eyes and give ourselves, and others, mercy and grace. Thats what Christmas
is all about, anywayGods giving us mercy and grace in the form
of a swaddled infant.
Second, we need to ask ourselves who we really want to pleaseothers
In Lion and Lamb, Brennan Manning says: "Letting the expectations
of others act as a subtle but controlling pressure on our Advent preparation
and Christmas celebration is people-pleasing enthrallment."
Finally, we need to recapture the awesome love and immense hope found in
the Christmas story. Thenand only thencan we plan a celebration
full of meaning and joy.
Manning says it best: "Christmas means that God has given us nothing
less than Himself and His name is Jesus Christ. Be unwilling to settle for
anything less . . . Dont come with a thimble when God has nothing less
to give you than the ocean of Himself. Dont be contented with a nice
Christmas . . . Pray, go to work, play Trivial Pursuit, eat banana bread,
exchange presents, go caroling, feed the hungry, comfort the lonely, and do
all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Lord, help me to let go of unrealistic expectations and, instead, focus
on celebrating Your goodness this season.
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|Copyright 2001 Dena J. Dyer. Used by permission.
Dena Dyer is a freelance writer, speaker and musician from Granbury, Texas.
Visit her Web site at: denadyer.com.
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