Confession: Sometimes I have a bad attitude at the holidays (please tell me I’m not the only one). I want peace on earth but then I wind up feeling tempted to run over people with my shopping cart when they’re rude. I want to spread cheer but then I get PMS and just want to spread chocolate on every surface I can find. I want to shine brightly like the lights on a Christmas tree but then I get too busy and just want to say “lights out” so I can get some sleep.
I used to feel guilty about this quite a bit. What kind of person was I if I got all grumpy at the most wonderful time of year? And besides that, it’s the birthday of Jesus. Surely I must be a heathen and not know it. Dang. But then I realized this: Even if the holidays are here, I’m still human. And there’s not some super-spirituality switch I can flip on like the lights on the Griswold’s house at Christmas. No, ma’am.
Struggling at the holidays is just proof that what Christmas is all about is true: I need a Savior. And the same grace that covers me the rest of the year is there for me in my unmerry moments, too.
Does this mean I just do and say whatever I want? Nope. But it does mean that when I mess up and fall short of the expectations of myself and others, it’s okay. It’s not a time for guilt and condemnation. It’s a time for celebration because the moments when I fall are when the message of Christmas means most of all.
Crazy? Yep. But so is sending the Son of God to be born in a manger. The whole gospel is full of surprises and upside-down thinking. That’s the wonder of it all.
So if you’ve been threatening to give yourself a lump of coal for Christmas because you just can’t seem to get it together, take it a bit easier on yourself today. Remember that you’re loved, accepted, and that God doesn’t want perfection from you. Instead, He wants to give you whatever it is you need – perhaps a bit more patience, some laughter, and a lot of extra grace. And you can share all of those good gifts with your friends, family, and even the person you thought about running over with your shopping cart, too.