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underneath the sparkle

Source: welke.nl  on Pinterest

With the first of December just three days away, it’s natural to start thinking about Christmas. I’ve been thinking a lot about our Christmases over the years. Specifically the ones since we’ve had children…this will be our 18th Christmas as parents!

Can I share something with you? Christmas stresses me out.

I can look back on many, many Christmases and remember how trying to make every little detail perfect and magical totally robbed me (and truth be told, probably my family as a result) of any joy.

Don’t we have that pressure as moms/parents to make holidays perfect?

You know what I’ve learned along the way?

No matter how much time or money you spend, it won’t be. And that’s okay.

You know what else I’ve learned? My kids cannot tell you what gifts they got last Christmas. Or the one before that.

But my 17 year old son can tell you every last detail of the gingerbread house he and I made together when he was five. And my 12 and 13 year old can tell you every ingredient we used in making reindeer food that we’d  sprinkle over the lawn for Santa’s reindeer. And the ornaments we’ve made together through the years, still hang proudly on our tree.

Underneath all the sparkle, it’s very simple.

It’s not about the food, or the clothes, or the presents, or the pressure.

And it’s certainly not about perfection.

It’s about the PERFECT ONE.

God’s greatest gift to us.

And THAT is where the joy is found.

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24 Comments Post a comment
  1. You’re absolutely right – there is no such thing as perfection. I figured that out a couple of years ago and life is so much better now.

    November 28, 2011
  2. Deborah Oakley #

    Amen sista!

    November 28, 2011
  3. Yes! Thank you for this; I needed a reminder 🙂

    November 28, 2011
  4. Amen sister!!

    November 28, 2011
  5. Carrie #

    Well said.

    November 28, 2011
  6. Can I get an “Amen?” I turn into the Grinch every year because of the pressure I feel, which is admittedly self-imposed. I am better now and try to find ways to bring joy to others during the season and to celebrate the true meaning of the holiday.

    November 28, 2011
  7. Kim #

    What a great post and so so true. I get so stressed every December. I am now dragging out the boxes and trying to decorate. I always say I am going to do less and then I keep adding and adding. I hope to keep it down this year. It is only up for four weeks and then I have to put it all away and that part I truly hate. We have so overly commercialized Christmas that we have forgotten what we are truly celebrating!

    November 28, 2011
  8. Mel #

    You are so right. I started cutting back on all of the hulabaloo of Christmas a few years ago, and slowly it is getting easier each year.

    Even I can’t remember what I got last year 🙂

    November 28, 2011
  9. So true…wish i wouldn’t have stressed so much when the kids were little!
    Blessings…

    November 28, 2011
  10. amen to that ! as a mother and grandmother, i have found that the best part of christmas is being together with those we love. time goes by so very quickly and memories of presents fade just as soon….but the memories of togetherness and the foibles of the quest for perfection stand out. christmas is not christmas without the nativity set on display or remembering the “reason for the season”…..enjoy your days with those you love!

    November 28, 2011
  11. Tiffany #

    Susan well said! 🙂

    November 28, 2011
  12. Well said…I can attest to that and can recall the memories of family but not any of the presents I received as a child 🙂

    November 28, 2011
  13. I am in a hard position right now. My Husband has been following a certain church who finds that Christmas was based on pagan origins and everything along with it since it really isn’t Christ’s birthday. No tree, no presents, no decorating. I feel as if someone has pulled the plug on my tree (my heart) which had at least 1500 bulbs on it each year! I am trying not to argue and trying to find scriptures to back up that it isn’t wrong to celebrate Christmas. If anyone is so inclined, please pray for us…
    I do remember some gifts from when I was younger-but they were the ones that demonstrated how much my Mother sacrificed for us.

    November 28, 2011
  14. Sue Gamble #

    I couldn’t agree with you more……most of my kids will remember doing a good deed for someone more than what they received for Christmas and how being together with their grandparents of whom only one remains. Thats the plan and he did a good job…I best memories are not of what I received but the joy of doing things to make Christmas better and more magical for my younger siblings. The stress we put on ourselves is unbelievable. The best time of all is walking though the church door Christmas Eve and seeing lots of friends and neighbours and the hugs after the service comes to an end. This is what Christmas is to me…..family and all the love……shared.

    November 28, 2011
  15. Patty Wilkins #

    I just arrived home after a day of Christmas shopping feeling irritated, stressed and exhausted. After reading your wonderful article I am now feeling relaxed and a bit tearful. Your wise words are completely correct and uplifting!

    Thank you!

    Patty 🙂

    November 28, 2011
  16. I need to hear this every day for the next 27 days!

    November 28, 2011
  17. amen! thanks for setting things straight in our topsy turvy world of mixed up priorities. a great reminder.
    judi

    November 28, 2011
  18. Beautiful sentiments, and lots to think about! Thanks for sharing your insights.

    November 28, 2011
  19. Debra Meyer #

    Susan, thank you for this post!!

    I know this is something I struggle with and am going to remember this as we get further into the season. How sad it would be if the Greatest Gift of all got lost in the bustle of the season! I wish you and your family a relaxed and memory-filled Christmas, where Jesus is truly ‘the reason for the season”!! Thanks

    November 28, 2011
  20. Karen #

    oh how absolutely right you are!
    it’s definitaly the small stuff that counts.
    my middle name has been simplify these
    past few years, and loving it!

    November 29, 2011
  21. Paula Diekhoff #

    Yours was a profound and truthful statement that I believe was felt by many, especially women. As I entered my late 50’s and early 60’s I decided I wasn’t going to put up a tree. Only wreaths on the front door. How liberating!! No more holiday decorations to drag out and put away! I had more time to bake Christmas cookies (which I love to do) and I had time to shop for presents for the adopted family we chose. In fact, buying gifts for those less fortunate was so exciting! Now, I understand with younger children, having a tree makes their eyes light up, but if you involve them in activities you can do together…. yes, those are the memories that stay with them. We always encouraged our children to help the less fortunate, year-round. And that is what God wants us to to — love thy neighbor. I have to keep reminding myself that it is not about me– it is about God.

    November 29, 2011
  22. Beth #

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Great reminder of what is really important during the holidays.

    November 29, 2011
  23. Jacquelyn Markland #

    Amen, amen, amen! Thank you for sharing!

    November 30, 2011
  24. Christmas decorating stresses me out. I can’t even get my regular decor all tweaked and then I have to change it for 3 weeks…..Geez…..

    December 3, 2011

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