If you’re feeling dissed in December, welcome to the party.
I mean, maybe it’s just me, but have you noticed how family drama escalates during the holidays? Actually, it is well-documented that “the happiest season of all” can also be the most stressful. There is just something about the month of December that can be hard on people and relationships.
Part of the challenge with December is the gap between our expectations and our experience. As Christmas approaches, we expect that life will be “holly and jolly” but our experience may not live up to it. What if instead of holly we have ugly tinsel and instead of jolly we have family arguments?
The distance between our expectations and reality is what I call the Frustration Zone.
It doesn’t help that all the commercial ads and promotions tend to set the bar pretty high for happiness…pretty people smiling, hugging, and rollicking in the snow. These images can set you up for feelings of disappointment and exclusion, making you feel like you are on the outside of the celebration looking in.
Perfect is an illusion.
Another thing that can make you feel dissed in December is the false idea that you are the only one who might be struggling and that everybody else seems to be getting along just fine. It isn’t true. The reality is that everybody has some drama going on somewhere. Everyone has needs. Some of us wear our wounds better than others, but we all have them.
As it turns out, the idea of a perfect life or perfect family is an illusion. We’re all broken, always in need of God’s grace.
He gets you.
Though it gets lost in the shuffle, Christmas is the celebration of the Incarnation, the history-splitting moment when God miraculously entered the world as a baby. God, who is Spirit, became flesh and here’s why this is still such a big deal:
17 Therefore, it was necessary for him to be made in every respect like us, his brothers and sisters, so that he could be our merciful and faithful High Priest before God. Then he could offer a sacrifice that would take away the sins of the people.18 Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested. Hebrews 2 (NLT)
Jesus entered this harsh world at Bethlehem on a mission, a mission to save us from our sins. Call it a bridge-building mission. The bridge that would make it possible for us to be re-connected with God again was none other than the Cross where Jesus died.
But there’s something else about Jesus becoming human. It means that He understands. It means that He is sympathetic to what you and I are up against today. Since He lived in our world, He knows what it’s like to be tempted to sell your soul, to live in a dis-functional family, to be devastated by loss, and to be overwhelmed with stress and anxiety. He went through all of that, and won. He’s been there and done that. And because He did, He can help you and I with whatever we may be facing in this moment. Believe that.
From my family to yours, God bless you and Merry Christmas.
It’s a new day with God. Run with it.