Setting Realistic Expectations
Colorful pictures filled multiple pages of the current issues of two of my favorite magazines. Admiring the creative displays of artfully arranged holiday tables and fancy dishes, I realized that those arrangements were great for selling magazines,
but not something I would recreate. A much simpler table setting for our Christmas feast would suffice.
There is nothing wrong with elaborate table settings and fancy dishes. I have found; however, that when I try to recreate magazine-worthy holidays, I stress over unrealistic expectations and become irritable and unreasonable. However, when I focus on the meaning of the season and the comfort of my guests, my attitude improves. To create that welcoming feeling, I must spend time reflecting on the meaning of Christmas. When my heart is properly focused, I then create an inviting atmosphere that cherishes my family and friends, putting their needs above anything drawing attention to myself or my creativity.
In a pandemic year, we will likely experience disappointment during this Christmas season as family gatherings are cancelled or adjusted to protect our health. I’m challenged to use this time to pour additional focus into the reason for the season. With less time with family, I plan to spend more time studying the Christmas story. I’ll focus on the advent season with the themes of hope, love, joy and peace.
Many will struggle with these themes as celebrations are cancelled or downsized. However, true hope, love, joy and peace are not dependent on our circumstances. They result from a relationship with Jesus Christ. When we find ourselves in troubled times of a pandemic, social unrest, and political divisiveness, we stand on the solid foundation of Christ alone.
“Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24-25)
This year has been filled with battering rains, a flood of trouble and winds beating us down; however, if our hope is in Christ, if we are living according to His word, we will not fall. Our foundation is secure.
I pray that in this unprecedented Christmas season, you will find your hope in Jesus Christ. May you create realistic expectations based on Scripture and dwell on the joy of God’s gift to us – Jesus Christ.