Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Twelve Days of Christmas: Day Eleven

Raise the White Flag of Surrender

Go ahead and raise the white flag!

I hate to break it to you, but our idealistic notions of a romantic or idyllic Christmas is not going to happen this year or any year for that matter. Holidays will always be imperfect to one degree or another. Certain aspects will always be less than what we wish for.

Just because it is December the season of joy to the world and peace on earth doesn’t mean that our challenges and struggles automatically go away. And all of our mundane tasks of paying bills, washing dishes, and resolving conflict continue as well.

In December, kids still get sick or argue with each other. People we want to spend the holidays with may be too far away, or they choose not to join us. And the people we are with may give us reason for annoyances.

We may not get the gift we wanted or any gift at all. We may not have the money we wish we had—or the job we need—or we may have to work too many hours. Others around us may not pitch in and help with the added responsibilities of the season. Maybe we don’t get everything baked we had hoped to or our favorite recipe didn’t turn out this year. We may be facing health challenges—or the loss of a loved one—or a divorce.

Our losses and disappointments are legitimate and should not be minimized. It’s OK to grieve and too be honest about our feelings. Yet we all need to take a hard look at our overall expectations. Far too often we are more than a little unrealistic.

The Norman Rockwell Christmas is a myth. No one has a perfect holiday in every way. If we could attain Christmas perfection on our own, we wouldn’t need Christmas. Christ wouldn’t have needed to come to earth to redeem us. Christ alone is the source of joy to the world and peace on earth, not the circumstances of our Christmas this year.

So I will resolve to enjoy each and every blessing that comes my way and receive them with humility and gratitude this Christmas. And I will keep my expectations in check. I surrender to my own reality and embrace it. You, too?

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