Holiday Devastation or Delight?

The holidays are a time full of activity – from decorating and dinners to baking and buying gifts, there is no shortage on the things one can do. Which means stress can also mount and make us frazzled before we know it. Today, my wonderful friend, Tiffany Parry, is sharing three questions we can pray through when the momentum of the holiday season gets the best of us.

Thank you for joining us, Tiffany!

holidays-dont-have-to-be-perfectLighting the Christmas tree was my job [only mine]. With careful attention to the most minute detail, I would unwind endless strands of crystalline white [only white] lights across the branches of our Noble [only a Noble] fir tree.

This job required talent, folks. One must be born—created even—to light a tree with this kind of precision. Bulb and cord must be perfectly positioned and tucked so that every ornament and sparkly what-not reflects light just so.

It’s enough to drive a girl mad. And that’s exactly what it did.

By the end of the tree lighting ordeal, I was full of the polar opposite of Christmas spirit. Family members fled, fearing even the mention of an unlit branch would send pine needles flying. My goal was to create memories, but not the kind that would require counseling.

To my credit, my intentions were good. I wanted our tree to be a beautiful place for our family to gather and celebrate one of my favorite times of year. From the front window of our home, I longed for warmth and welcome to radiate to the neighborhood beyond.

Rather than fixing my heart on the gathering, welcome, and the faith that fueled them, I focused on making it flawless.

The holidays are full of emotion and ideal, many of which can place undue pressure and emphasis on the wrong places. Whether it’s facing not-so-functional family, feeding the masses, or simply managing more-to-do when you’ve had more-than-enough, this season can be a devastation rather than delight.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above.”
James 1:17

The holidays don’t have to be perfect and neither do we. Perfection is an illusion any day of the year, but paired with holiday expectation, it can become a heavy burden that steals our joy.

Jesus is perfect.

  • Our perfect supply of strength.
  • Our perfect measure of love.
  • Our perfect source of wisdom.

We don’t have to manufacture those things. They are given to us from above, a gift from a good Father who delights in us, as imperfect as we are.

There is freedom and rest in releasing perfection and clinging to Jesus.

Now, I’m not suggesting you chuck the turkey and tree, slam the door on your family, and spend the holidays alone with Jesus. Sounds kind of awesome, but not realistic…or kind. Just saying.

However, we can ask Jesus to give us a renewed and right perspective about the holidays—about every day—and proceed through them in His wisdom and strength.

Here are a few questions we can pray through when the momentum of the holiday season begins to get the best of us:

  1. Is it essential? 

There are needs and then there are wants. It’s fair to say our lives our full of non-essentials. So, simplify. If you don’t buy it, do it, or make it, would it greatly impact your life or those of your loved ones? If not, perhaps you could ease some pressure by passing on it.

  1. Is it worth the cost?
    Honestly count the cost of your time and resources—emotional, financial, physical and spiritual. The holidays can cause us to spend more than we have in all these areas. Wisdom says we are to be good stewards of ALL that God has given us. For me, a pre-lit Christmas tree was worth every penny! 
  1. If ______, then what?
    With the heightened emotions of the holidays, molehills can quickly become mountains. Take a step back, measure the consequences, and then proceed. If you burned the cookies, then what? If you said no to one more invite, then what? Sometimes things aren’t as crucial or critical as we think. And if you can’t answer that question clearly, then choose someone you trust to filter through it with you.

The holidays can be a minefield, but they can also be marvelous if we remember we don’t navigate them alone. Our purpose for thanksgiving, our reason for celebrating new life—our Jesus—is real and true. Let’s purpose to celebrate this season WITH and FOR Him. Let’s simplify so that we can savor every minute and truly embrace joy.

tiffany-parryTiffany is marveled by the endless grace and relentless love of her Savior in this life that can be so messy, too busy, and entirely imperfect. Her heart is to share God’s precious promises of grace and love with others and invite them into honest and authentic conversations about faith and life. Tiffany welcomes you to join the journey at her blog, Simply for One, or on Facebook and Instagram.


8 thoughts on “Holiday Devastation or Delight?

  1. Encouraging word for a world of Pinterest moms and perfectionists alike. Thanks for sharing your words, Tiffany, and your very “real” story lit by lightbulbs. Praise Jesus there’s a better way. Leigh Ellen, thank you for sharing your space.

  2. Oh Tiffany! I just love this much needed message of grace. Going to share on Facebook tomorrow evening. Such a needed message. I need to let go of perfection: my Turkish sister just told me she can’t come to Thanksgiving (first time ever in 10 years) because her husband has scheduled a MINISTRY MEETING that is too important for him to consider changing. I was crushed, but ya know, it is what it is. Not worth getting bent out of shape over. Better to extend grace. I’ll enjoy my other guests, not look for that “Perfect” Thanksgiving.

    • Betsy, we just found out the same thing from some of our dear loved ones. It made me sad, but, you are right – it’s better to extend grace and love. Thanks for stopping by today. Tiffany had such an awesome post!

  3. “The holidays don’t have to be perfect and neither do we.” Amen! Living with a chronic illness has taught me this lesson in every day life, but especially during the holidays, when the pressure to have everything be lovely is even higher. So thankful God’s grace covers all! Great post, my dear friend.

  4. Horace Williams Jr. says:

    Beautifully stated Tiffany. A couple years ago I sat with my mother and told her we need to take a step back and enjoy the holidays.instead of worrying that every family member within a 150 mile radius received a gift. I love my family and I pray that my everyday actions and words show that. If I am able to give something at Christmas time, I thank God for the opportunity. I want to be a good steward of His blessings and if I can bless my family members in return, that’s a bonus. I always appreciate your heartfelt posts that glorify God. Have a fantastic week and may God richly bless you and yours.

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