Every year at this time our culture brings us visions of the Christmas we are supposed to want and have. Beautiful decorations, oodles of gifts, amazing food, a happy, well-dressed family. It’s a perfect picture.

But in reality, is this what we want?

Chasing after what the world says Christmas should be can come with a pretty high price tag, not just in dollars, but in time and relational sacrifice, too.

Jennifer Dukes Lee, author of Love Idol, says it like this:  “In our early years as a family, I transformed our house into a winter wonderland every Christmas. I set up tiny ceramic villages on fake snow. I baked (and burnt) dozens of cookies, mailed an avalanche of Christmas cards, purchased far too many gifts, and decked the halls to the point of exhaustion. If the weary world rejoiced on Christmas morning, I was too weary to notice.”

Jennifer goes on to tell about her later efforts to “simplify” Christmas and when Christmas Day arrived, even though she wasn’t weary, she also felt as if something was missing. In eliminating important pieces of the family celebration, she felt as if she “did Christmas all wrong.” She realized she needed to find balance for her family’s celebration, and in a way that would honor Christ, but not “cut out the fun parts we enjoyed.”

If you are wondering if you have over-done or under-done your Christmas celebration, if you’re second-guessing your Christmas plans and activities, or if your insides get all tangled up or you feel weary and wonder if you’ve missed the whole point of it, lean in close and listen. Jennifer shares hope:

“Let this Christmas be a new kind of Christmas. Let’s be done with the high expectations and self- accusations. It’ time to live a Guilt-Free, PreApproved Christmas.”

Jennifer shares Six Steps toward a PreApproved Christmas, and I think you’ll find her wisdom to be like a gift–tagged with your name on it. Go on, and check out her article. You’ll find, as she says, you have nothing to prove to anyone. Because you are already approved in Christ.

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