It’s amazing to me how my expectations at Christmas time vary from year to year.
Many years I have tried to go all out with Christmas cards, gifts and decorations. One year I handmade 50+ Christmas cards and sent them to friends and family (how did I have time or energy to do that?). But it was enjoyable and not stressful. There have been years where I have made baked goods. And almost every year, because of my INFJ nature, I agonize over the most perfect and practical gift for each person, as is stated so well in this article, shared by fellow blogger, Leigh Kramer on her Facebook page.
More recently, I have understood that the expectations that come with the holidays, are not placed upon me by anyone but myself.
- No one expects me to send them a Christmas card every year (even though I wish I had the time and energy to do so).
- No one expects me to buy them a certain type of gift that has a specific price tag on it.
- No one expects me to decorate a certain way, or even at all.
Each activity I engage in during this season is one of my choosing and unfortunately is weighed with my expectations.
The expectations we place on ourselves, whether during the holidays or at any other time of the year can be paralyzing. It’s pretty ridiculous when I think about what stress I have felt about activities and tasks that are supposed to be enjoyable.
So, this year I am taking a step back:
- I thought about using the video/recipe I saw on Facebook to make chocolate bark to gift. Removing any expectation of additional stress if it doesn’t turn out the way I want it to, I may try it out if I have a free night to spare and enjoy the process, no strings attached.
- I could spend additional time and money agonizing over gifts, or be content with the personalized gifts that have already been bought, not worrying if they costs enough.
- I could purchase, sign and address close to 100 Christmas cards to send to family and friends or decide on taking a nice picture with my husband and posting it with a blog update that can be easily shared via email and Facebook.
It may be the road less traveled in this Christmas season, but it’s one time of year where I wish everyone would slow down.
A few people I know take life at a rushed pace. They talk a million miles a minute and it makes my head spin. It takes all my restrain not to tell them, “Slow down!” For my prayer in this season is not just for myself, but for all who stress over their own holiday expectations.
What’s expected these Advent and Christmas seasons?
There is only one answer to that question:
He offers more than we can ask for or imagine.
Listen to the words of this Advent carol, which shares the desired anticipation we all want in this season. Stop. Listen. And meditate on the promise FULFILLED by our loving God in His precious gift.
Come, Thou long expected Jesus; Born to set Thy people free
From our fears and sins release us;Let us find our rest in Thee
Israel’s strength and consolation; Hope of all the earth Thou art
Dear desire of every nation; Joy of every longing heart
Born Thy people to deliver; Born a child and yet a king
Born to reign in us forever; Now Thy gracious kingdom bring
By Thine own eternal Spirit; Rule in all our hearts alone
By Thine own sufficient merit; Raise us to Thy glorious throne