Have you ever noticed that Thanksgiving and Christmas often arrive with a warm glow of emotional expectations that can kill your holiday joy?
You know what I mean; each year you embrace the hope that the season will be perfect–cozy gatherings, sparkling parties, family reunions, and happiness all around—truly a season of gratitude and worship of the God who became a man.
Hidden in there somewhere, waiting to emerge with a human reality check, are the arguments with family, a cranky boss, and your sister Jane’s hurt feelings.
How do you walk through this jungle of holiday craziness to make moments that count for eternity?
Your kids are watching you. Coworkers are noticing how you process the not-so-joyful moments of the holidays. Even the waiter at your favorite cafe’ is “reading” you.
You are living a message. What that message is, depends on you.
5 tips to get you through the season with the peace of Jesus as your reputation
1. This season starts with thankfulness. That is something you are to give no matter how a situation might present itself.
Thankfulness is a choice you make to express gratitude to the only One who sees the whole picture and understands the end from the beginning. It is an acknowledgment that He is God and you are not. He is a good God, and he deserves to receive thanks in all things (see 1 Thessalonians 5:18).
You’ll be surprised at how much an attitude of thankfulness can bring joy.
2. You aren’t in heaven yet; so don’t expect people to act like angels. Lower your expectations of what people should and shouldn’t do. This way, you’ll appreciate people for who they are and not for what they do.
3. Every family has an Uncle Scrooge. If you don’t know who that is in your family, it is probably you. Lighten up. Enjoy the giving of your heart and don’t take notice when others are not so giving.
4. Keep your focus on God’s love–a love so strong that it broke through the sin barrier to create the God-man within the womb of a woman. Let love cover a multitude of sins (see 1 Peter 4:8). Forgive, express thanks, and tap into a love beyond your capacities.
5. Make time for Jesus. An extra few minutes of prayer throughout your day sets a peaceful heart atmosphere that cushions the unexpected intrusions of life (see Philippians 4:6, 7).
Are any of these tips easy? No. Do they work? Yes. You can do this–really! Take a deep breath, know that Jesus is right beside you, and walk into the holiday season with realistic expectations and a confidence born of the Prince of Peace.
What unreal expectations have you had during the holidays, and how have you dealt with them?