Christmas (im)Perfection

By Nancy Virden (c)2022

One TV mom complained that she was failing her kids by not following through on some disciplinary boundaries. Her friend replied, “You haven’t quit when it is important.” I love that friend’s remark because false guilt will eat us alive if we let it. Carrying the dead weight of unfulfilled best intentions will wipe us out.

In terms of Christmas and surrounding holidays, anxiety may rise with fears of failure or reminders of past perceived failures. Here are 6 things to remember this week to carry you through triumphantly and in a good mood.

I do not control what (or who) I do not control. The outcomes of your best efforts may not be what you wished and worked so hard for. The weather may cause cancellations, a favorite relative could become ill, and traffic might make everyone late. Dinner burns, some gifts do not arrive, and other such random events cannot possibly be within your control. Why fret? Life is what it is. Accepting life on life’s terms is an easier road than obsessing over perfectionist ideals.

For some, this Christmas is rife with serious disappointment. Allow room for grief and discomfort. You do not control much right now. Do not forget hope. Hope is believing in better Christmases ahead as circumstances and attitudes improve.

Add humor. Laugh at yourself and Uncle Joe. Humorize bad timing and mistakes. A woman said she dreaded the family holiday dinner because one relative ruined all the parties. A counselor suggested she make it a secret game with her favorite cousin- gathering laughter and points with each of this relative’s guffaws. The one with the most points was to buy the other cousin lunch at a later date. This attitude of accepting what she could not control made the woman’s day fun and gave her freedom to enjoy the other relatives.

Wrap gifts that didn’t arrive. Cut the picture out of an ad, make a model of the item, or write a description. Wrap it in a box and tie it with a bow. The anticipation of opening a gift will lead to excitement when the recipient sees what will be coming soon.

Do not run from store-bought food items and mixes. If you are the chief cook and bottle washer, give yourself a break. Feel free to serve readymade foods (or even go out to eat). At least have some packaged foods available in case of events out of your control. Baby Timmy shows up just as you are supposed to take the cookies out of the oven and they burn? Do not fear – lay out some Oreos and everyone is happy.

Be your best self by being relaxed. I’ve obsessed so much over hosting gatherings that by the time the day comes I am exhausted and nervous and no fun. Phooey on that! What a waste of effort! People are not coming to see your plates and matching silverware or decorations. They are coming to see you. Supposedly your motive for hosting is to provide a nice time for everyone. Include yourself in that and do whatever it takes to be fully present.

Ask God to help you remember Jesus’ birthday. The Son of God did not come to fanfare and glitter. He was born as a humble baby in a stable and slept in a manger on straw. Keep it simple to adore Him best.

God, thank you for sending your Son to us. Please help me to give you the praise and honor you deserve this week. In Jesus’ name, Amen.


Today’s Helpful Word

Luke 2: 6-7

And while they were there, the time came for [Mary’s] baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. -the birth of Jesus

How the Difference Maker Lifts You Above Depressive Thoughts (c)2020

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If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988, or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!

Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair. NOTE: Nancy is not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speaks only from personal experience and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.


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