I love the holidays, but let’s face it, they can suck the life out of you. Between the Hallmark Christmas Movies, the stores and ads portraying the wonder of the holidays, it’s supposed to be a December to Remember…especially if you wake up on Christmas morning with a new Lexus in your driveway, with an oversized bow on it. Nothing says Merry Christmas like a $529/month car payment!!
I really think that this season is overwhelming many of us because we have set an expectation that rivals “White Christmas,” It’s a Wonderful Life,” or even “The Santa Clause.”
Why can’t we hit the reset button on our Christmas expectations? Because it’s not just our expectations, it’s what we think others expectations of us are! Just when you thought you could simplify and downsize Christmas, you realize that we are chasing after the elusive “WOW” from our spouse, kids, co-workers, church members, pastors, siblings, and educators.
Here’s an encouraging word – You Can Never Meet All of Those Expectations, so don’t wear that around your neck this season!
Most of you are normal folks that want to enjoy the Christmas season with some time away from work, a pleasant gathering with friends and family, and enjoy a few traditions that remind you of a simpler state of holiday expectation.
I can almost hear your minds whirling as you think, “yeah, yeah, yeah. Thanks, Chuck!” What alternative do I have, other than telling everyone we are leaving for a mission trip in the Ukraine, while simply hiding in a decent hotel on Hilton Head Island? You might catch that reference from the 2008 movie, “Four Christmases,” starring Vince Vaughn and Reese Witherspoon. Funny movie, not for the kiddos. Maybe not for me, but still, pretty stinking funny!
Here is my game plan for this year. I trust it might help you.
- Pick a place to serve, where you and your family can experience a true blessing. Nothing cures an expectation hangover quite like serving folks that are genuinely grateful. And as a bonus, your kids can experience a life apart from iPads, $100 sneakers, or “OMG, I Love It Outfits.” That’s a good thing! Please do not assume that I have mastered this yet, but I am giving it another whirl!
- Give to something or somebody that you can verify is in deep and serious need beyond needing gifts. Nothing wrong with gifts, but I am trying to raise $4000 for a single mom with two children, a husband/father in jail and a house in total disrepair. If you want to help, please let me know with a simple email to Chuck@AChuckAllen.com I’m trying to raise these funds apart from the $660,000 I am praying our folks at Sugar Hill Church will give. I can, without an ounce of hesitancy tell you that these are great folks that need somebody to step up and help them.
- Go to your church, or a local church and participate in their Christmas pageant, program or worship service and sing. Sing to the top of your lungs, especially if you can’t sing! You know what will make it even better? Don’t critique it, or judge it as though it was a CMA Christmas Special or The Voice. Just sing, worship and see what joy might be lurking within you!
- Share your gifts within your means. I can’t afford to gift like many of my friends can, and they know it. Get off the dollar sign gift merry-go-round and celebrate your family and friends, as you can. The single greatest gift that I received last Christmas was a crayon drawing from a four-year-old that simply said, “I Love You, Pastor Chuck.” Season complete, mic dropped, and heart filled.
There are more, and I might share them, but if this encouraged you in any possible way, please share this article on your social media feed, even if it’s just to help raise the funds that this family desperately needs.
Here’s a Great Way to Wrap Up Today – “And Heaven, and Heaven and Nature Sing!”