When the Christmas Season Doesn’t Go as Expected

Do you ever have the feeling you just don’t do holidays as well as other people? Or maybe the holiday season hasn’t gone as you wanted it to? 

We’ve had a difficult fall, as I’ve been dealing with some heavy past trauma I didn’t know I had. My Christmas spirit has been minimal. I don’t decorate like crazy anyway, but this year was half-hearted at best, featuring an old artificial tree with busted lights, a couple nativity sets.

I ordered a few presents on Amazon when I was sick in bed with the flu, and we took our kids to Six Flags for an experiential gift, instead of loading them up with more toys they won’t play with more than once.

I waste a lot of time scrolling social media. I look at other people’s decoration pictures, the baking reels, the cute creative reels, the smiling kids in their matching Christmas clothes… and I worry my kids are missing out on something this season. We didn’t do enough. They’ll resent us.

But then I offer myself a different perspective. Our family has spent many evenings in the last month cuddled up on the couch together, watching The Chosen. Richard and I have spent numerous nights, practically every night we can, connecting and sharing – often with hard conversations, but mostly making memories I will treasure forever.

See, I might have made a mistake sometime in September. On a morning walk, I asked God to show me His love in a new way. And boy, has he delivered. I’ve seen his love through the raging tornado of my past trauma, because out of my brokenness comes his promised wholeness. I’ve seen his love through friends who have checked on me and offered a listening ear. I’ve seen his love through the unconditional love and support of my husband. I’ve seen his love through the three very chill, very laid back kids I’ve been gifted.

And I see his love through the gift of Jesus.

As Paul David Tripp writes in his Christmas devotional, Come Let Us Adore Him, “What sense would it make for God to go to the extent of sending his Son to be born for our sake, and then abandon us along the way? Since God was willing to make such a huge investment in his grace, isn’t it logical to believe he will continue to invest in his grace until that grace has finished its work?”

It’s okay that I don’t have an Instagram-worthy living room. It’s okay that my kids didn’t decorate Christmas cookies, that they didn’t see lights, that they didn’t get the usual amount of cousin and grandparent time this year. It’s even okay that they got more screen time than I’d like (it pains me to say that one out loud).

What matters to me is the lesson I’m learning… THAT is the most important legacy I can pass on to my kids, something they can hold on to through any of life’s plot twists.

His grace and unfailing lovingkindness don’t run out. There is no limit. I haven’t reached capacity. I continue to pull from that well of living water, the kind that never runs out, because he can’t be anything other than who he is – a God who sees, who rescues, and who creates life from death. Over and over again. He did it for me. He can do it for you.

Oh, come let us adore Him indeed! 

Merry Christmas, 

Erin

2 thoughts on “When the Christmas Season Doesn’t Go as Expected

  1. I can totally relate and understand. You know our story this holiday season. 😉 Makes me tear up just to write it as we are still in the thick of it all… but the Father has been so so good to us. Also lots of family time on the couch watching the Chosen and other family cartoon favorites (and our kids are young adults!!) Jesus has been so faithful to give us what we need for every single day, and we are learning to hear his heart and trust Him more and more each day. Can’t ask for much more of a better gift! And we are grateful for you!!! You have been an answer to prayer and a gift to our family. Thank you for giving us hope on this road to healing. 🙂

    Like

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