It’s that beautiful time of year again! The neighbors have their homes and yards decorated, the stores are filled with displays of red and green lights and bling, and Christmas tunes fill the airwaves when you turn on the radio.
Flip through any magazine while waiting in line at the grocery store and you’ll see pages filled with glamorous table settings and perfectly browned and glazed turkeys nested on a platter with beautiful roasted vegetables surrounding it. A woman is standing with perfectly styled hair and make-up with a holiday-themed apron wrapped around her beautifully adorned holiday dress.
WAIT A MINUTE! I’m not even close to that portrayal. Should I be in a panic?
I haven’t decorated my yard, let alone the inside of my house and it’s December 9th. My decorations are patiently waiting in the shed (placed close to the door as of a few days ago). That’s actually my project for today after I’m done writing this. Smile.
I haven’t baked any goodies and put them in the freezer to pull out for holiday parties. I don’t even know If I’m going to attend a holiday party at all. I have thoughts in my head of gifts to give, however, I didn’t go out Black Friday shopping nor did I shop on Cyber Monday. I don’t have a holiday outfit picked out to wear.
I won’t lie. I get the holiday jitters every year. It’s not a natural, exciting, calm feeling for me going into the Christmas season. I wish it were. The anticipation of everything that a holiday “should be” (the fear of not giving the perfect gift or having the right kind of food, or spreading the right kind of holiday cheer) is terrifying to me.
I don’t believe that gifts have to be large and expensive in order to be special, but that doesn’t keep me from feeling anxious that I’m not living up to the expectations of others. Some of my anxiety comes from feelings of not measuring up to everyone else’s abilities to create a magical Christmas for their families. Some anxiety is shear sadness that Christmas has become so much about buying gifts that people go into debt – with good intentions of making other people happy. My heart gets sad to think of how many gifts are exchanged without one single thought of Jesus’ birth – the reason we celebrate this beautiful season in the first place.
I do love Christmas lights, the music, the food and knowing in my heart that Jesus really is the Reason for the Season. In order to enjoy holiday preparations this year I will keep things simple, take in deep breaths of holiday joy, and try to not get caught up in anyone else’s anticipations, expectations, or abilities.
We’ll have our holiday eggnog as a special evening treat and make plans to drive around neighborhoods to see all of the beautiful lights. I’ll sit on my sofa with a cup of hot tea in the evenings and stare at our lighted Christmas tree in our cozy little living room. And in those moments I’ll get that beautiful feeling of joy that my life is perfect just the way it is and Christmas will be perfect because Jesus made it so.