The Perfect Christmas

I wake up the day before Christmas Eve with the stress oozing out of me before I even brush my teeth. The weight of cards not sent, gifts still to wrap, last minute errands, that one present I haven’t been able to find, the empty fridge, Christmas Dinner and stockings to stuff, and all the children not even home yet makes it hard to breathe– presses and constricts till a person might break with it. Christmas expectations raise the bar impossibly high for a recovering perfectionist.

Somewhere between cutting grapefruit for breakfast and feeding the cat, I hear the Still Small Voice: “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” (Mark 8:36) And I realize I could get everything exactly right and the holiday trimmings could be perfect for everyone in this house, and me broken and empty in the midst of it. What do you benefit if you gain the whole holiday and lose the essence of it in the rush? None of us will enjoy Christmas if Mama is ragged and shrill by the evening of the 24th, no matter what else is in the house.

So I breathe a quick prayer, standing in the middle of the kitchen in bare feet, knife in one hand and the other open to Heaven. If I miss Him in this Christmas, I’ve missed the whole thing. If my soul is not turned up toward Christ, it is no better than the inn that turned away His mother long ago. No room…no room…no room…because I’ve filled up my time and my thoughts with preparing for the big party.  No room for the birthday child Himself? Forgive me (yet again, because this is not the first Christmas to learn this lesson).

Lord, show me what things are most important in the next two days, and what things can be left undone. Give me wisdom to approach the holiday plans in new ways, and eyes to see You at work all around. We have no Christmas at all, if we do not have You…Come, Lord Jesus.





“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful.” (Colossians 3:15)





“We’re ready for Christmas,  not when we have all the gifts, but when we are ready for Christ — when we’re ready to give all of ourselves to Christ.” (Ann VosKamp)