Everyone’s Christmas looks different, and reality often doesn’t mirror Hallmark movies. Some married couples find themselves apart due to military service, while singles in healthcare positions wish they had a reason to request the day off. Others experience an empty-nest or long for their own children. Still others find the holidays painful because of loved ones lost through circumstances or death. Even those who enjoy the quintessential Christmas carry burdens of their own.
The truth is that everyone’s Christmas is its own version of messy. Comparing our Christmas to someone else’s will only steal our joy and make us miss out on the gifts we have.
This Christmas morning, find the merry in your messy by asking these questions.
#1: What blessings mingle with your mess?
This year, I learned that kittens and Christmas trees don’t mix. Taking down the remains of my Christmas tree eight days after assembling it was no version of fun; however, I did discover some hidden blessings through the experience:
- A simplified decorating approach can be refreshing and less stressful.
- I’m blessed with loving family who helped both assemble and pack up the tree.
- The Lord uses even the most ridiculous life circumstances to sanctify us and teach us about Himself.
Perhaps you say, “There’s nothing good in what I’m facing.” Though the circumstances may feel unbearable—and I’m not diminishing the very real pain you may be feeling—God still remains present. His presence in our lives never changes, and though you may feel rejected or unloved, the truth is that He loves you unconditionally. Yes, we live in a broken world, but nothing can separate us from His love (Romans 8:38-39).
Remember, God didn’t spare His own Son (Romans 8:32) but sent Him into the world to live and die to atone for our sins (John 3:16). That’s the reason we celebrate Christmas, after all.
#2: Whom can you bless with your mess?
We all have what Stephen Covey called a “circle of influence.” In other words, we directly impact certain people and circumstances.
If yours aren’t obvious, draw a circle and write down the names of all your family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, acquaintances, Sunday school class members … You get the idea. You’ll probably have to expand the circle after you start jotting down names.
More than likely, the problem isn’t that we have no one to bless but that we’re looking inward instead of outward.
Whether your people are mini-you’s running underfoot in the kitchen or the lonely, elderly gentleman down the street, focus on your who and you’ll figure out what you can do to bless others this Christmas.
#3: Why should you bless with your mess?
My seventh graders do a report on A Christmas Carol, and part of the assignment asks them to identify a theme or lesson Charles Dickens wanted his readers to learn. One of many is that stinginess and greediness result in an empty, unfulfilled life.
Blessings don’t always have to be financial or take the form of gifts. The blessing of time or a simple service or kindness can go a long way in making someone’s day.
We all have something to give, and the Bible reveals that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7). In fact, there’s a promise linked with giving. Luke 6:38 says, “[G]ive, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you” (ESV).
To clarify, we shouldn’t give with the expectation to receive, but we should understand that what goes around comes around. In fact, when we think we’re the ones doing the blessing, we often find ourselves on the receiving end.
Wishing you a Merry Christmas!