Finding Joy in the Holidays
When everyone in your life is intent on destroying your hopes for the holidays, happiness can vanish like the ghost of Christmas past. But this biblical secret can keep your spirits up and bring your family closer despite holiday mishaps.
It was a beautiful evening with the family… until it all went terribly wrong.
Little Timmy won’t look at the camera. Your brother didn’t come to the Thanksgiving meal you prepared (even though you knew he free to come). Your teenage son is in his own world showing no interest at all in the holiday plans you’ve made.
There’s so many things that can go wrong during the holidays. (I think that’s why I like Amy Grant’s confessional song “I Need a Silent Night” so much.)
How can we keep the joy alive in our homes during one of the most important times of the year for our families when there’s so much that can, and does, go wrong?
The Winter Wonderland Mirage
When it comes to the holidays, most of the time, we’re the victims of our own unrealistic expectations.
We want our winters to be a wonderland. We want our holiday dinners to be immaculate and delicious. We want our family members to greet us on the holidays greetings with all the love and affection of a Hallmark film.
But it’s all a mirage. It’s all an illusion.
Winter is cold. Food is burnt. And your family will probably disregard the special nature of the season and greet you the same way they always do.
Your winter may not look like artwork of Currier and Ives. Your holiday dinner might not be Food Network worthy. And your family might not look like the loving, warm folks you see in holiday movies.
The Secret to Family Joy during the Holidays
The secret to maintaining your joy throughout the holidays is found in Paul’s letter to the Corinthian church in 1 Corinthians 4:3-5 (TLV):
“But to me it matters very little to be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore do not judge anything before the time—wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light the things hidden in darkness and also make clear the motives of the hearts. Then the praise for each one will come from God.”
When you and I can get to the point where we care very little about what our family members, neighbors, and fellow church members think of our holiday decorations, the state of our house, our holiday spirit, our food, our gifts, our whatever — than we’ll see joy begin to knock on our door again.
“In fact, I do not even judge myself.”
If you and I can stop judging ourselves for our inadequacies, joy will flood our hearts once again.
Too often we’re our own worst critics, so busy giving ourselves mental tongue-lashings that we have no time to enjoy the traditions we’ve decided to celebrate as a family. Worse, too often we’re so busy castigating ourselves that we miss opportunities to enjoy the people in our lives who make the holidays the special times that they are.
“Do not judge anything before the time…”
Finally, we must stop judging those in our homes for not meeting our expectations for what was supposed to be the perfect holiday moment, gift, greeting, song, play, etc. When we do so, we release them of the obligation to earn our love.
Giving and receiving unconditional love is key to bringing joy back into your family’s life again.
No Judgment Zones
Is joy seeping out of your home this holiday season? Check inside and see of you have judged against yourself and others for not meeting your expectations. Release unrealistic expectations. Release your children, spouse, and family members of the obligation to earn your love.
Declare your home to be a judgment free zone. It’ll be the best present you could ever give your family.