“We must balance the frustration of ‘how far we have yet to go’ with thanksgiving for ‘how far we have come.’” – Orange County Register
Well, here we are … on the verge of what is likely the busiest season of the year. These next four weeks could bring more shopping, wrapping, spending, decorating, traveling, baking, and over-eating then we’ve all accomplished during the past eleven months combined.
I enjoy as much as anyone the coming weeks filled with what I refer to as my favorite “Fs”: faith, family, fellowship, food, football, and fun. But if I let it, my attention can easily shift from the reason for the season to all of the hustle-bustle – and my need for perfection. I can certainly become overwhelmed with trying to impress others by buying perfect presents, preparing perfect meals, and hosting perfect parties at a perfectly decorated home.
It is so easy for me to fall into the comparison trap of mimicking the “perfect” Christmas experience I will witness in all of the advertisements thrown at me this month. “My wife will love me more if I just buy that special ring or necklace” they suggest. The commercials hint that “my kids will think I’m the best dad in the world if only I would buy them this or that”. And, don’t worry, I am told, American Express and Visa are here to help me “pay” for it all.
Can anyone else relate here or am I alone in this?
So, when IS enough, enough? And how can all of this doing and acquiring bring contentment this holiday season? Or is it possible we end up with exactly the opposite result … discontentment … and frustration over how short the surprise of the presents lasts verses how long the credit card bills stick around?
We see people all around us trying to fill their Christmases with as much stuff as possible, rather they can afford it or not. I get it. That was me for a lot of years. But when the perfect Christmas we seek doesn’t meet our ever rising expectations, we can end up frustrated and dissatisfied.
Chasing after what we call the “next, best, latest, greatest, shiny new object, gotta-have- it-now syndrome” can never provide the “enough” we seek in our lives. Stuff will never provide that. Not at Christmastime. Not ever! Only the Christ child born in a manger can do that.
Sometimes we need to stop ourselves and focus on all we have rather than what we want. The Orange County Register newspaper published a really good article titled “Almost may be just enough” which states “When we aim for ultimate fulfillment, we discover that it is a moving target. A tyranny of perfection is a dead end. Rather, we must balance the frustration of ‘how far we have yet to go’ with thanksgiving for ‘how far we have come.’”
Let this Christmas season be one defined by less striving for stuff and perfection and more true contentment. Let it be one that leaves you and your families starting the New Year more thankful for all you have … and less worried about what others have. May you experience more joy … and let others worry about the credit card bills.
Wishing you a season filled with the contentment that is Christmas.