It’s the most wonderful time of the year – until December 26th comes around and you’re broke, overwhelmed and discontent…AGAIN. How are we to be content in a culture that says we need more stuff to be happy and fulfilled?
Honestly, one of my biggest weaknesses is greed. I am always looking to social media to see what I’m missing out on it. Whether it be home decor, fashionable outfits, hairstyles or products, it seems like there’s always one more thing that I need.
My days seem to go by so quickly. I’m stressed and anxious about all these aspirations and expectations I have of myself. As I spend time on any kind of media, I am bombarded by new and impossible expectations that either turns me into an anxious, overwhelmed wreck… or a lazy, couch-potato misfit.
Just off the top of my head, here are some of those things.
I desire to:
- Be thin
- Be in shape and workout out every day
- Have an abundance of wealth (taking care of all our needs AND wants)
- Be well-dressed & fashionable
- Have great makeup skills put to use on my beautiful, acne-free canvas
- Have thick, bouncy, shiny hair that always looks great
- Be happy and content and have a great attitude all the time
- Be kind and compassionate to all
- Have a really nice house that is decorated perfectly in style
- Keep that really nice house clean at all times
- Cook great and nutritious meals for my family every day
- Work on my musical and artistic abilities and enjoy using them
- Work from home and make money
- Have great friendships
- Spend time with those friends
- Be a perfect mom and teach my kid and spend time with him every day
- Have a strong marriage that is grounded on our relationships with Christ
- Be more like Jesus and spend more time with him
How many of these things can you relate to? They are all good things in and of themselves, and yet, all of the latter seem to counteract those last three things. I am spending so much time focusing on all the lesser things of this life, that I put the three most important ones last.
While none of these things are bad, I have found that they so often replace my mind and heart with the things of this world that just aren’t as important. And all year long I am fighting to focus on what is most important, then Christmas comes… and everything I had gained seems to be replaced with greed, spending, and stress.
I’ve had the thought before that women in generations before must have been so overwhelmed. They had to harvest their own food, milk their cows, collect the eggs, walk miles to purchase anything extra, sew their own clothes, tend the fire, and make sure their kids didn’t die. How on earth did they do all of that and not go crazy? If we are stressed now with all of our modern conveniences, how much more were they?
But then the thought dawned on me that we are more stressed for three main reasons.
- We have unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of how perfect our lives need to be.
- We are always searching for more than what we have – we are NEVER content or satisfied.
- We are wasting away our time on social media, leaving little time for the important things in our lives.
This Christmas, I challenge you to put away your phone. I challenge you to change your expectations of having a perfect Christmas meal, all the right presents, and a perfectly decorated house. I challenge you to focus on your family, your friends, and the beauty of what our Savior did to us
I challenge you to put that searching and greed aside and take a moment to reflect on what Christmas is really about. It seems like such an overused thing to say… to remember what Christmas is really about… but guys, WE ARE SO TERRIBLE AT THIS!
Our culture’s got a bad case of the gimmes. We want our lives to be better, and we want it NOW. Christmas has morphed from a joyous celebration of what Christ has done for us, to a season of making greed and self-indulgence okay.
I love buying and receiving gifts.
I love the twinkling lights.
I love family get-togethers.
I love great food.
But when it becomes a distraction from the reason I am celebrating in the first place, I know it has gone too far.
I challenge you to recover the spirit of Christmas: a spirit of joy, contentment and delighting in what we already have – the love of our Savior Jesus Christ! I hope you can spend this year with a heart of contentment, knowing that the greatest gift has already been given to you.