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Having Realistic Expectations for Christmas

Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus, but somehow we have tangled in there other expectations. If we kept the true meaning of Christmas at the center of our minds, we would not have any unrealistic expectations. But, we all do it–create in our minds the “perfect little Christmas.” Perhaps, we watch too many sappy Lifetime or Hallmark channel movies and begin fantasizing about having that awesome family or that spouse we dreamed of.

Every year at Christmas, I fall into the same trap of wanting everything to finally be right with my family, my child, and the list goes on and on. I want my home to be decorated with the most amazing lights and have homemade baked goods for all my neighbors. I want my family to be together and to get along and to stop abusing alcohol and drugs. I want a normal family, you know the ones that are portrayed in those Norman Rockwell paintings. I want my prodigal son to finally stop running from God and come home for Christmas. I want to be able to entertain and hosts all of my family without getting tired or frustrated with them. You get the picture, right?

But, you see I have my expectations for Christmas all wrong. I will always be disappointed at Christmas time if my hope is in the “perfect little Christmas” I see in the movies. Jesus was born in a stable, a messy stable with wild animals. I mean Joseph and Mary could not even find somewhere for them to stay a night over. They had to travel long and far just to find a stable for Mary to give birth!

I cannot imagine there being a huge Christmas dinner prepared for them when they got there, or even a hot shower to take. I am sure the stable they stayed in was probably dirty, smelly, and uncomfortable. I do not think Mary was the least bit concerned about having a perfect little Christmas, she was most concerned about bringing the Savior into the world. There were no Christmas lights, Christmas trees, or wrapped gifts under the tree, but somehow we believe this makes Christmas! What makes Christmas, is not any of these things or even our expectations for our families; but rejoicing in the birth of our Savior.

I believe many have forgotten what Christmas is really about. It is not about Santa, decorating with lights, or even gift buying. These things can be fun and can be included in Christmas, but when they become the main focus we are missing the purpose and meaning of Christmas. Christmas is not even about eating a big Christmas spread with your family. Anything other than celebrating the true meaning of Christmas will leave you disappointed and feeling unfulfilled.

Get rid of all your expectations for Christmas. The perfect family meal or gathering, making sure you give the best gifts, or having a spouse or children. Let us not buy into the false belief that people and things make Christmas. Jesus Christ’s birth makes Christmas, and if we are believers in Christ, then Christmas should be the most wonderful time for us. It is a celebration that God came into the world in human form so that we may know God’s love and plan for us. Do not be misled into believing that Christmas is about anything else.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Do you have any unrealistic expectations for Christmas? If so, what are they? How can you get back to keeping the true meaning of Christmas?

About Stephanie Reck

Stephanie has a heart and passion to see broken lives restored and redeemed through Jesus Christ. She writes through her personal experiences and her educational and professional background. She has over 17 years experience in counseling, and has a Master's degree in Social Work, Bachelor's degree in Psychology, and is a Licensed Belief Therapist. Stephanie has been married for 16 years,and has one grown son. Stephanie's desire through her writings is to bring hope and encouragement to the body of Christ, that no matter what you have been though or going through, there is restoration and redemption through Jesus Christ.

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