Screams of “Watch out, Dad!” and “The tree! The tree!” were quickly followed by preschool wails of “Christmas is ruined!” After the base had broken on our hand-me-down artificial tree, we’d attempted to use a real tree stand on the metal “trunk.” Then, with carefully chosen carols playing, the kids hung ornaments while I took pictures. It was idyllic—until my husband attempted to straighten it a bit, and the entire decorated tree bent and fell right on top of him.
He was okay, and so were about 80 percent of the ornaments. Eventually we all laughed about it together, but in that moment of screams and tears, my plans for a sweet tree-decorating moment definitely weren’t turning out as I’d hoped.
Ever been there? We invest so much effort, time, and hope into creating special Christmas moments, but then those hopes collide with reality.
Maybe dreams of mistletoe make-out sessions with your husband dissolve when stress has led to yet another fight, and the tension is still running high.
Maybe your sweet children (whom you’ve done all this work for) have become overwhelmed by all their gifts and morphed into me-me-me brats.
Maybe your vision of gathering the whole extended family together has imploded. You’ve reached your limit on time with parents, in-laws, or siblings three days ago—and now you’re trying to just survive through another 24 hours of dysfunction.
Or maybe it’s something more serious. Maybe, while everyone else seems warm with delight and joy, you’re feeling cold and lonely. Behind your holiday smile, there’s a hollow ache.1
Meeting God in Your Imperfect Christmas
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