Christmas is wonderful, or is it?

As trees are dragged out of the attic and Amazon boxes arrive on the porch, let’s all admit this can be a conflicting season.

Faith can get messy at this time of the year, which is why we may feel conflicted.

We want to live with compassion and mercy. We want joy. We long to celebrate the birth of Christ, but that can be challenging as we spend time with that person who drives us crazy, or who delights in making us feel like we’re a loser. It can get messy when we try to be 10 different places at one time, and yet no one is really happy with that.

Love your enemy, Jesus said, but what if your enemy is the one cooking the turkey? What if feels like your enemy is your own child, throwing a fit as relatives cluck their tongues and shake their head? What about that friend who hurts your heart, or that man you really love but right now you don’t like him much at all?

Is it even possible to have a faith-filled, beautiful Christmas?

I believe it is.

Anticipate imperfection.

So many of us plan a perfect Christmas, but what if we made room for imperfection? We go in knowing that this season will be a mix of wonderful, average, and sometimes frustrating moments.

This has two benefits. One, we release the need for perfection. Two, it doesn’t blindside us when things aren’t perfect. We know that Uncle Joe is going to talk about politics, so we’ve prepared for that mentally and sneak away to the kitchen for a second helping of pie, or take a walk.

We know that we can’t be everywhere at one time, and that someone is not going to be happy. So we do the best we can. If someone is unhappy, we allow them to work through those issues. We are too busy unwrapping presents, singing carols, and watching that child laugh, to try to carry someone else’s burden of discontent.

[bctt tweet=”So many of us plan a perfect Christmas, but making room for imperfection takes the pressure off. #livingfreetogether ” username=”suzanneeller”]

Find ways to make it about Jesus.

A friend shared that her greatest frustration was that Jesus’ birth wasn’t honored the way she wanted in her family circles.

When she brought that to prayer, she felt the Holy Spirit invite her to make this desire a personal goal, rather than a communal one. She began to find ways to celebrate Jesus — a sweet time of praise, enjoying the Nativity set that her grandmother loved, a Christmas Eve service with other believers.

The more she found personal ways to make Christmas about her Savior, the less need she felt to make everyone see it the same way. The beautiful result of this was inner peace rather than outer frustration.

Her family noticed that mom was at peace, and that offered natural opportunities to celebrate Jesus together.

Look for the good.

Just as I unwrap presents, I unwrap moments.

Maybe that person didn’t know how to say the right thing, but they showed up and they tried really hard. Perhaps the turkey was half-cooked and the dressing too salty, but when the story of Jesus’ birth was read, it was beautiful.

Looking for the good is intentional. It’s not being false, but seeing the bigger picture. Maybe a sibling was insensitive, and it’s tempting to make that your entire memory. But your husband was kind and protective, and you laughed until you cried as you played that game with the family. Looking for the good allows you to see the whole picture and put that one insensitive remark in perspective.

This is my prayer for each of us, friend. That this Christmas will be imperfectly beautiful.

Eat those sugar cookies piled high with icing. Field those crazy conversations. Hold that child. And all the while, remember that God so loved the world so much, he sent his son just for you.


For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Q: How might it change Christmas if you allowed for imperfections from the beginning?

Q: What is one way you can personally make Christmas about Jesus?

Q: Share one sweet or good memory from a past Christmas. (Even if everything else felt chaotic.)