Drop your expectations and ideas of there being only one perfect way to celebrate Christmas. There are more ways than you can even imagine.
Do you ever feel like everyone is in on a secret and you are not?
That everyone knows how to do something, and you don’t?
Well, that’s how I feel.
It’s like everyone knows the secret of tying their shoes, and I don’t. I stand there watching people bending over and looping shoelaces, but when I try, my shoes don’t end up tied.
Only it’s not tying my shoes. It’s about celebrating Christmas.
Maybe it has something to do with not celebrating Christmas until I was about 33 years old.
We grew up in a church where Christmas was labeled a pagan religion. Yes, we believed in Christ, but not celebrating his birth.
Neither my husband nor I had ever done it before. Nor had our families. We had never even been to a Christmas celebration.
So, when we decided to celebrate Christmas, it felt like I was trying to figure out some secret and I wasn’t privy to the instructions.
Is there a best way to celebrate Christmas?
Christmas felt mysterious. I wasn’t sure how one went about keeping it. Doing it. Preparing for it.
The only knowledge I had came from movies, books, magazines, and TV shows.
Which means I probably had unrealistic expectations or ideas as we all know how real and true to life the entertainment industry is.
If I am to believe magazines, then the decorations and the perfect meal is most important. While TV seems to emphasize large family gatherings. And always, everything is supposed to look perfect. Be perfect.
I felt like I was starting at step one and had no idea what step two was. Meanwhile, everyone else seemed to be at step 27 and a half.
People talked about lists with a bazillion tasks they needed to complete. But I wasn’t sure what was supposed to be on the list except presents. Advertising and the entertainment industry had made that point loud and clear.
What happens when you have no clue how to do something?
Do you ever get caught up in a task, not knowing what to do first or second, and all the time worrying if you are doing it right? Are you passing with flying colors, or at least a D- and not an F. Do you ever feel like you have no clue as to what you are doing?
My guess is you have. Maybe not about Christmas, but about other things. A new job, motherhood, a new diagnosis, marriage, starting a new class, walking through a trial.
It looks like everyone has their act together, but you. That they know the next 5 steps and you are still trying to tie your shoes so you can leave the house.
This is all normal. Part of life. Part of learning. Part of being human.
Let me tell you a secret. There is no one right way to do life. To celebrate Christmas. To mother. Or to load the dishwasher.
We think there must be. We may even be told there is. We are led to believe there is. But there isn’t.
That’s the beauty of life.
And the beauty of us all being different. No one way works for everyone.
Variety is the spice of life.
God tells us to love our neighbor and love him.
But there are as many ways to accomplish this as there are people.
Someone may love their neighbor by buying them a coffee. Someone else by sending a gift. Someone else by cleaning trash along the road. Someone else by changing diapers.
One person may love God through dance. Another through song. Another through woodwork. Another through long runs. And still another by pulling weeds and tidying flower beds.
We can use our brains, our talents, our creativity to do all we set our hands to.
And this means Christmas.
As long as we remember to keep him front and center, we can celebrate Christmas with paper plates or silver cake stands.
As long as we let him join in the celebration, we can have a ten foot twinkly tree dripping with bling, or we can forgo decorating of any kind.
There is no one way to celebrate Christmas. We just want to remember why we are celebrating this day and make Jesus a welcome guest.
(There are many ways to focus on Jesus this season, from Advent readings, to reading the Christmas story, to attending candlelight service. Once again it will probably look different than our friends. And the way we celebrate Christmas will even change over time.)
We can have a quiet Christmas or a ruckus Christmas. Open gifts the night before or anytime we want. Eat homemade food on fancy china, or get takeout and use plastic spoons.
We can choose to say yes to all the parties or say no and stay home.
We know how much time and energy we have, and we get to decide how we will use it. And what we will focus it on.
Let go of the unrealistic expectations, drop the guilt at the door, quit comparing your way with someone else’s way, and refuse to beat yourself up for not getting it all done. Instead give yourself grace. Because something will fall through the cracks, turn out differently than you planned, or be a surprise.
And that is all right.
When we keep our eyes on him, we don’t need to fall for the idea that there is only one perfect or right way to celebrate Christmas.
Blessings on your creativity in celebrating!
Join the discussion: What is creative about your celebration?
Looking for advent reading? Download Beholding Advent: Reflections to Draw Closer to Christ as He Comes Closer to Us. (It’s free.) Twenty-Four different authors wrote a devotion based upon the 24 chapters of Luke. (I wrote about Luke 15) Start December 1 and finish just before Christmas.
You can also join the Beholding Advent community on Facebook and continue the conversation. Each day a video will be posted where the author talks about their devotion and answers the reflection questions from her own perspective.
Let’s be intentional about drawing close to Christ this season.
May link up at Maree Dee (#Grace & Truth), Anita Ojeda (#inspirememonday), InstaEncouagements ((IE Link-Up), and Jeanne Takenaka (#tellhisstory).
- Accepting Christmas as It Comes - December 16, 2021
- How to Celebrate Christmas (Even When You Don’t Know How) - December 1, 2021
- Bibliotherapy: What It Is and How It Helps You - November 18, 2021