The cartoon Luann quipped “Does Christmas start up way too soon…or should it last much longer?” (Greg Evans 12/27/09) A friend commented, “Christmas is not an easy time. It leaves me feeling let down.”
Why are post holiday blues so common? I’d like to hear your thoughts. I think our expectations can set us up for a let down. We expect a magical time of deep connections with those we love. But if those we love are no longer here or have issues that keep them from connecting, we feel the loss. We expect people to appreciate the gifts we selected for them, especially those close to us. And especially when we tried so hard! We expect them to know what we want, our taste and our size. Especially when we TOLD them. We expect perfect circumstances with everyone pitching in to help prepare for the events and clean up after feasting or at least cheerful, grateful attitudes. We want a day that fills us with overflowing joy, like the movies. We want our hearts to experience Scrooge’s transformation so that we wouldn’t be bothered if none of our expectations were met and the sweet memories of those we’ve lost would override the bitterness of their no longer being here..
When we place our hope or expectations in people, presents, circumstances or a day, we are going to be disappointed. Special days like birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas naturally set us up for that. We are led to believe we deserve a perfect day, or at least a very special day.
Commercials that promise a magical Christmas are pushing products that can’t deliver the magic that fills a heart. Christ, not Christmas does that. And Christ is with us every day, not just December 25th.
Ken Boa wrote in his devotional letter in August 2004, “ Those who know Jesus are by no means immune to the problem of misplaced hope. Many have slipped into the trap of hoping in Christ for their eternal salvation and hoping in the world for everything else.”
In an affluent society, it is easy to think we can fill our empty hearts with stuff: good food, friends or fine gadgets and experiences. But Blaise Pascal had it right when he said, “There is a God shaped vacuum in the heart of every man which cannot be filled by any created thing, but only by God, the Creator, made known through Jesus.”
Christmas really isn’t about us having what we want, but about Jesus emptying Himself and being made in the likeness of men so we can have what we really need; eternal life, love and acceptance from God (Philippians 2:7). “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich,” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
Take a moment and list your holiday expectations. What did you hope would happen or you would receive from Christmas? When did you find yourself feeling aggravated or disappointed or sad? Where did those expectations come from? Which expectations are reasonable and which are not?
Now will you surrender each one of your expectations to the Lord. Thank Him for knowing and meeting your deepest needs.
Happy New Year,