Confession: Sometimes I have a bad attitude at the holidays (please tell me I’m not the only one). I want peace on earth but then I wind up feeling tempted to run over people with my shopping cart when they’re rude. I want to spread cheer but then I get PMS and just want to spread chocolate on every surface I can find. I want to shine brightly like the lights on a Christmas tree but then I get too busy and just want to say “lights out” so I can get some sleep.
I used to feel guilty about this quite a bit. What kind of person was I if I got all grumpy at the most wonderful time of year? And besides that, it’s the birthday of Jesus. Surely I must be a heathen and not know it. Dang. But then I realized this: Even if the holidays are here, I’m still human. And there’s not some super-spirituality switch I can flip on like the lights on the Griswold’s house at Christmas. No, ma’am.
Struggling at the holidays is just proof that what Christmas is all about is true: I need a Savior. And the same grace that covers me the rest of the year is there for me in my unmerry moments, too.
Does this mean I just do and say whatever I want? Nope. But it does mean that when I mess up and fall short of the expectations of myself and others, it’s okay. It’s not a time for guilt and condemnation. It’s a time for celebration because the moments when I fall are when the message of Christmas means most of all.
Crazy? Yep. But so is sending the Son of God to be born in a manger. The whole gospel is full of surprises and upside-down thinking. That’s the wonder of it all.
So if you’ve been threatening to give yourself a lump of coal for Christmas because you just can’t seem to get it together, take it a bit easier on yourself today. Remember that you’re loved, accepted, and that God doesn’t want perfection from you. Instead, He wants to give you whatever it is you need – perhaps a bit more patience, some laughter, and a lot of extra grace. And you can share all of those good gifts with your friends, family, and even the person you thought about running over with your shopping cart, too.Leave a Comment
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Yes, I too, feel like the Grinch sometimes at Christmas. Perhaps it’s because there is this expectation that we are to joyously merry and happy this time of year…..it’s Christmas after all….the most wonderful time of the year. My thought the other day was one of exhaustion. I had to think about, and then buy these gifts that will make faces light up with gladness AND I gotta wrap them too? I had an urge to pull into the nearest Dollar Tree and say, “Gift bags all around this year!” He is mindful of our frame, He knows we are but dust.” (Psalm 103:14). It’s okay if I feel like the dust on Santa’s boots because, quite frankly, I am. I am a grumpy, grouchy, ungrateful person at times who is desperately in need of a Savior. The perfect season shines a big old spotlight on my imperfectness too. Emanuel – God with us. Oh how I need Him. Now more than ever. Loved this!
Beth Williams says
I say go ahead & do gift bags. It makes life so much easier! Don’t stress over the packaging. They will love whatever you got them sweet sister!
Michele Morin says
I love the lead up to Christmas because it keeps me grounded in the purpose for Jesus coming to Earth. John Piper has said that Advent is to Christmas what Lent is to Easter — a time of mourning over our sin and lamenting our great need so that when the celebration arrives, our hearts are ready, and we know (oh, how we know!) exactly why we needed a Savior to take on a body and die in our place.
Wow… how beautifully put Michele! Thank you for that!!
Great message and very timely – thank you!
I loved this message! Nope. Your not alone. Running someone over with the shopping cart is mild compared to some things that run through my mind lately. But God gives us grace for the day, and a little bit more than we need or deserve for those special times of frustration. We’re human. We might have those thought…just don’t ACT on them!
Thank you so much for your wonderful devotion! Just what I needed to hear this morning. So thankful for our Savior who is so gracious to us!
Pearl Allard says
Holley! I just love this! I love what you pointed out that just because the holidays are here doesn’t mean we suddenly can flip a switch and be Super Holy Woman. Thanking God with you for grace that has already permanently placed us in a new realm (that we’re learning to flesh out) and grace that is enough for each day, including holidays. Love your transparency. Thank you!!
Thank you, thank you, thank you! Your message was a balm to soothe my spirit today.
Holley this was great! Thank you!! Just the reminder I needed to give myself the permission to take it easy and not condemn myself when I lose it( or want to run over someone with my own grocery cart!) That made me laugh. I loved what you said “It’s a time for celebration because the moments when I fall are when the message of Christmas means most of all.”. Such a beautiful and humbling truth. It’s truly isn’t about how perfect my cookies are, that my cards go out on time or that my Christmas Dinner look like something from the magazines. It’s about Jesus and the gift of himself that he offered the whole world so many starlit nights ago! Immanuel! God with us!! What a hope, what a promise, what a GIFT!! The greatest gift of all!! Blessings and grace to you and yours!
Oh my goodness! You have described me perfectly these past two weeks. I have felt like the Grinch day in and day out. I have felt so guilty about feeling this way. I have been praying each night and morning asking God to help me remember that Christmas is about more than what society perceives it to be and that it is a joyous celebration of the birth of our Savior. Thank you for this timely post.
I spent the morning pitching a full on temper tantrum on the way to work. All I want to do is cry. Circumstances in my home are very difficult. I lost my precious daughter ten years ago. I have a very wayward adult child. And the icing on the cake is a full blown sinus infection with teeth that hurt! I just need some encouragement. I feel so abandoned today.
Lynne, I’m so sorry you’re having a difficult time right now. Hugs and prayers that things will soon get better for you.
Thank you for your gentle words Melody…❤️
You are not alone. You never were. You are loved and cherished by the one whom you were created by and for. Sometimes we don’t understand the why of certain things in life but I remember Joseph, he was sold to Egyptians by his own brothers, his family and underwent so many things but one day he saw the light of God in his circumstances and said this in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives”. May the light of God shine in the midst of your struggles and reveal to you his greater plan. Not a plan for bad but for a greater good. May He bring peace to your weary soul. Rest in His arms. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Irene, your sister in Christ
We are more than conquerors in Christ (Romans 8:31-39)
My dear sister in Christ, Thank you a thousand times over! Somehow God motivated a woman somewhere in the world, to write and send me the exact words I needed. I am so very grateful!
Sending you so much love and holding every word you wrote in my heart.
Sarah Geringer says
I love this reality check. The truth is, Christmas can bring out both the best AND the worst in us. I can only share God’s peace and joy with others if I first ask him to fill me. Thanks for this reminder to ask God to help me in the struggles.
Patricia Brown says
Hi Holley read a few of your books. Christmas to me is no longer a family affair and I shop for few friends (mostly those with kids). I find it more comforting to donate to the Food Bank and other organizations that assist those less fortunate. As a Senior not many people these days show empathy or compassion so to avoid stress or a heart attack I take to either saying softly or if the other person is being rude out loud the 23 Psalm it always quiet the situation.
Thanks for this, Holley. We don’t hit a “pause” button on life at Christmastime, do we? I’ve been feeling like the season is getting away from me, and I haven’t had a chance to sit in its stillness yet. Silly thing to say on Dec. 12th, though, I suppose. I’m trying to focus on the baby Savior, who is so worthy of this annual remembrance of His birth. Emmanuel. With us then. With us now. ♥
so true. as we anticipate the good part of Dickens Christmas, when we actually all do get together, we are overwhelmingly reminded how much we need a Savior. sigh and that is the good part of Christmas. Great post, dear Holley.
Mindy Larsen says
I loved this. I giggled at the shopping cart part because I totally feel you on that one haha. Thank you for giving me grace and permission to feel all the things even if not every feeling is merry. Such a good reminder!
I feel the exact same!! I’m having a housefull of family stay with us and as much as I love them, it stresses me out and I feel guilty!! Sometimes I want to hide from Christmas and just be with Jesus!! Thank the Lord he knows and loves us in spite of our issues and bad attitudes!!
LOVE this!!! 🙂
Well said Holley, thank-you, it was very helpful.
Blessings to all,
This year has brought to the forefront my desperate need for Christ and I love this reminder that it’s ok to be grouchy at Christmas. The Bible is so upside down that it’s hard to comprehend sometimes. I’m so grateful for grace and that Jesus is there when I don’t have my Griswold house switch ready to flip!!
Susan Shipe says
Holley, you have a lot of company sister. xo
Beth Williams says
You are not alone my friend! This Christmas has been hard for me. I’m dealing with health issues of my in-laws & a nasty cold that won’t go away. God sends surprises all the time. Walking through Walmart one day a lady I don’t know said have a Merry Christmas. Wow!! I started doing that to other people also. Made me feel good. Just today a good friend sent me a nice CD of Christmas music. Just what I needed on this dreary restful day. The one thing I love is that Jesus knows s intimately. He understands when we get grumpy, & out of sorts. We aren’t perfect. We need His grace & forgiveness. We need a Savior to rescue us from our sinful selves! Happy Birthday Jesus!!! 🙂
Nicole Goodly says
Gosh, this is so me! I do condemn myself when i don’t meet my own or the expectations of others. It really saddens me. Thank you for the realization that those are the times that I need my Savior most. He understands that I am not perfect and that is ok. His grace and mercy cover me and allow me to have a second chance. I am so blessed and thankful. This really spoke directly to me.