Managing Christmas Expectations

Managing Christmas Expectations

Last weekend I found myself having a severe case of FOMO. You know, the fear of missing out.

After perusing Facebook and seeing photo after photo of friends having Christmas fun, parties, recitals, decorative homes and friends and families being oh so merry, I found the old familiar party invitation creeping up on me. The one that rears its ugly head every year about this time.

It’s the pity party invitation.

The one where feelings of loss, unmet expectations and age old longings come to hang and hang in my heart and in my head.

When I finally got myself off Facebook it was full on melancholy for me.

But part of me says to me, c’mon now, I mean really, Tracy you have everything you need and you’re not living in Eastern Aleppo. But around this time of year there’s a giant piece missing in my heart.

The expectations that come to roost with the Christmas season and brings me great emptiness. Like a big fat zero.

Things like having a big family, the kind that gets together at grandmas house and it’s so loud it’s like a circus everyday, but so much love is shared between each other.

Things like having a husband and a family of my own. Someone special to share holidays with, twirling under the lights and planning to exchange the perfect gifts.

It’s also missing evening Christmas parties where you dress up.

Oh hey, how about that Christmas vacation?

It could be seeing the kids debut in the Christmas play or holiday performance, well I don’t have any of those.

Decorating your own home and starting new traditions. Uhh huh.

Making a feast to share with those you love.

When I think about the likelihood of these things happening for me this Christmas the party bells of sadness begin to ring and sing carols of disappointment and the blues.

As this happened the other night, I immediately retreated from all forms of social media and prayed.

I invited God to my pity party of one.

So I handed it all over to Him.

My hopes that repeat themselves every year, my dreams that are yet revealed but unfulfilled, the deep cravings of my heart. I gave Him the real me, the good, the bad, and the ugly.

When I finished pouring out to God, He simply said, Tracy. You. Are. My. Daughter. I love you. That is enough.

God didn’t say this with a ‘shape up’ or ‘snap out of it’ kind of tone. He said it in a loving, gentle, and reassuring kind of way.

In that moment I was reminded that I do have everything I need. I have everything I need for this holiday, this next year, this day and tomorrow too.

I had allowed myself to be overtaken by these thoughts, these untruths. And truly these thoughts had no business lingering in my head and no right to be in my heart.

When my focus drifts to what I don’t have and why I may not have it, it takes my eye off of where it should be. I have so much good that fills my life. I am blessed beyond belief.

God has given me a hope through His son Jesus and that IS the reason for this season, not everything I conjured up. Not the perfect gift. Not a husband. Not the perfectly decorated home and not the ‘perfect’ family.

I know what this season can bring for me and maybe for many others.

Taking an inventory of what I’m most grateful for keeps me in the right place and opens me up to experience everything God has for me. If I don’t stay focused, I’ll miss the joy moments He has planned.

God does real and mighty things. As evidenced by all the heavy lifting He’s done for me this year alone. All I need to do is look and take notice. There’s proof.

I don’t know about you but I don’t want to miss the joy of this moment or the next.

Because of Jesus we can have hope in the darkest of nights. His love never fails and His promises remain true forever. All because of a baby born some 2000 years ago.

Merry Christmas!

6 Comments

  1. So wise if you to retreat and pray when the pity party started! Merry Christmas!

  2. You’re exactly right, Tracy, His love never fails! And don’t we all love the things we don’t have! We are so very human. Thank you for sharing from your heart. Your reflections are exactly what every woman feels, because no matter how much we have, there’s always something we feel we don’t have. Jesus is the only one who can fill that void. Beautiful post. I love your writing!

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