Sometimes I think Iím fated to have bad holidays. I know others feel that way too because people suffer more depression and suicides during the holidays. Perhaps we candy coat our holiday expectations. I know I do. I figure since itís the holidays everything is going to be shiny and bright. I naively expect not to have any problems and then when I do I childishly whine but its Christmas, itís my birthday. For some reason overcoming negative emotions during the holidays is harder. When I train and encounter adversity I often joke that itís extra credit. I look beyond the immediate challenge and see that the results will be greater because of the increased harsh conditions. Wind, cold weather, hills you name it, every bit of those difficulties only make you stronger. Can the same be said for emotional extra credit? What do we get from having to deal conflict, stress, hurt feelings and broken hearts? Do we get bonus points if we experience this during the holidays?
Iíll admit it, in some areas of my life I am a perfectionist. I think part of the problem is that I try to make the holidays perfect. It starts before Thanksgiving as I begin planning the decorations and continues as I find the just right Christmas card. Then there are the gifts, I try to spend the same amount on both of my kids and make sure they have the same number of packages to open. It goes on with the holiday gatherings, the Christmas dinner to share at my home. Iím busy contriving the perfect Christmas for my family and then Bam! The unpleasantness of reality.
Follow me here and this is a big leap. Itís not going to be perfect. Itís going to be messed up and some of it will not turn out the way you planned. But thatís ok. There was One who was perfect. One who came to be with us when we had to plow through and earn the extra credit in life. There was One that we were longing for, but now sometimes, we forget. One that we call Emanuel and that means God is with us. When you step back and consider the true reason we celebrate Christmas you realize there is no such thing as a bad Christmas. Christmas is simply a remembrance of one of the most fantastic moments in history.
"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. An d he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God." Isaiah 9"6