The Holidays: Not the Cover of Better Homes and Gardens

(By Lois Robinson)


 AHHH, the holidays! For some it is an, “AHHH, I can’t wait until the Holidays are over!” And yet others say, “AHHH, Yeah! I can’t wait for the holidays to be here!” Whereas others say, “I’m numb, and it really doesn’t feel like the holidays because of very significant losses that have happened.”

I admit, I have experienced all of the above to some degree. But usually I find myself getting very self-focused and wanting to experience a form of utopia, sometimes literally expecting that picture on the front of a magazine where the whole family is gathered in the beautifully decorated BIG home with the fireplace aglow while everyone smiles and laughs with little appetizers in their hands. The table would be set with more silverware than I know what to do with, the huge delectable turkey in the middle of the table and everyone holding hands thanking God for His blessings. Dinner would be wonderful! No uncomfortable silences, everyone engaged with each other, not a cross word would be exchanged. We would all connect in meaningful ways. Then the coffee and MANY pies would be served. More laughing would occur as we moved into the huge living room with the fireplace (can’t leave that out!) as we began to play games as a family- fully knowing each other, connecting and engaging. Oh, can’t leave out the 6 inches of snow that spontaneously began to fall as well! AHHH, the Holidays!


 Well, I can honestly say, I have never really experienced that scenario with my family. What I have experienced is some of the above- the fireplace all aglow, some laughing, many awkward silences, forced conversation with some, ministering to some, holding my tongue with others and at times tactfully rebuking inappropriate behaviors demonstrated by the Christians in our family. I believe my family represents a microcosm of the world.


Why is this?? Aren’t the holidays supposed to be celebratory? Hmmm. Yes, but we must remember what we are celebrating!

Is Thanksgiving a time when we engorge ourselves and say thank you out loud for everything we have but make sure we keep it short so the food doesn’t get cold? Laughing and getting a buzz?  Kicking back because, “Darn it, I deserve a break from all the stress!” Christmas has its own scene going on, and unfortunately it doesn’t involve the manger scene- that gets squeezed in where it can fit. It has become a HUGE event that the advertisers enjoy showing more and more commercials of what we need, what to buy so we can be cool (of course) and where to get it. Pipe in the Christmas scents through the store ventilation, play the music and put up the Santa so people will help us make more money for the stores revenue!!! YEAH!!!!!

Friends, is that what the Holidays are really about?  NO!

Thanksgiving is a time that we celebrate what we are thankful for. In the Christian faith, we are primarily thanking God for who He is, what He has done through Jesus and how He has provided for us. It’s not about us. Christmas is about us celebrating Jesus. Yes, Jesus. He came to save us from our brokenness- our broken families, our broken lives, even our broken hearts when our idealistic holiday picture didn’t happen the way we imagined. He came for the picture I described my family to be.

I wonder what your experiences are with the holidays. Where are you in your life? What are you looking forward to? What you are dreading?  Or you may just  want to wake up when it’s all over. I don’t know where you are, but I know where I want to be. I want to keep focused on the One the holidays exist for. I want to be a part of the holiday where I can be used by the Savior Himself to bring about change in a broken world, a broken family, my own broken life. I know that Jesus says in John 12:32, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself (ESV).”

I would encourage all of us to be focused on this verse during the holiday season. I do believe that when we live that verse out, we will actually get closer to the picture I dream about. 

Hmmm, new thought. Maybe that desire I have is actually from God. When we get to the Great Banquet in Heaven :) A promise for all those that have placed faith in the One we celebrate,  Jesus Christ.

                          Blessings, My Friends