I love holidays and I happen to especially love Thanksgiving. Yet I think we have an epidemic of setting ourselves up for holidays of perfection and because perfection doesn’t exist our holidays can often end in disappointment.
Today I think of the family that doesn’t feel complete, the one who is missing someone who is loved.
Today I think of those who are unsure about the future because of the loss of a job and financial instability.
Today I think of children who are without homes, or parents, or food, or shelter as the soft snow falls.
Today I think of the person alone without turkey or pie or a hug.
Today I think of fake smiles covering deep hurts and hiding tears.
Today I think of the rich decorations and fancy clothes charged on overloaded credit cards because keeping up the Jones (who are they anyways?) is all too real.
As the snow falls and the lights go up. As the sparkle sets in and the fire is warm. I pray that instead of a holiday season of unrealistic and unnecessary expectations you and I change our focus to truly loving those around us well. That our eyes are open and our hearts broken for those whose lives don’t look like ours. I pray that we truly embrace this as the season of giving, selflessly, without comparing what is given in return. And that our giving goes beyond things purchased and instead is on the things that are priceless. The things really needed. The love, understanding, tears shared and laughter erupted the prayers given the snuggles and hugs. The true needs that need to be met. I ask that we get to the heart of the issues, that we probe past the fake smiles and see the people in the shopping lines and at the registers and across the tables and on us next to the couches and in our churches and on the street corners.
As a community of people can we step forward together and rise above the status quo? Can we treat the epidemic of perfection with a dose of authenticity, flavored with true love and beautiful compassion? I can’t help but examine myself. If this is how I approached this holiday season how would the next 5 weeks look different for us all?
Steph is a mom to four girls and wife to one very supportive man. She is the Executive Director of Stories Foundation and is passionate about fighting for freedom both spiritual and physical. Her days consist of car pooling, ministry, parenting and lots of coffee.