Christmas Time is Here

(Updated 12/15/2022.)

Christmas time is here! 

Do you feel it? Does it surround you? And as it surrounds you, do you find yourself uplifted or overwhelmed? 

At Christmastime, we all feel merry and bright. When this season hits, a spring naturally overtakes every footstep. Magic weaves itself into the air. It’s effortless. An uncontrollably joyous feeling. The most anticipated moment in every year. Except...when it’s not.

Christmas is filled with expectations, expectations packed in heavy boxes. Boxes which are stacked in our garages and reopened every year. Do so many boxes exist for any other time of year? No? Why not? Because no other time of the year is as heavy leaden with expectations as Christmas. 

You pull the boxes in and unpack them. You go through the rituals. But instead of jingle bells, it is factory bells that toll. 'Tis another season of going through motions without the emotion. You have a happy face on because you know it's expected. In fact, you have a whole list of expectations. An entire tiring list of expectations:

Unpack the decorations

Choose the tree

Send out Christmas cards



Write letters to Santa

Holiday shopping

Go to Christmas parties

Watch all the movies

Listen to all the songs

Stroll through Christmas lights

Wrap presents

Make crafts

More holiday shopping

Plan parties

Host parties


Grocery shopping

Attend Advent services

And on

And on

And on

Your pencil breaks. You pick up a new one. You cannot stop making the list. It must be perfect. This Christmas will be the perfect one. You will weave your magic. No one will complain. Everyone will get the perfect gift. You’ll bake the perfect cookies. Everyone will ask you for the recipe to your dish at the potluck. Your house will be the one of envy on the street. 

It will be, because if it’s not, you didn’t try hard enough. You failed. Just like everyone knew you would. Just like everyone was waiting to see.  Just like everyone was expecting. So, you keep adding to your list. Your list takes over. It keeps piling up until soon, it becomes a mountain. But you got this. 

You start climbing. This is your year. Your mountain won’t stop you. It’s just proof that this Christmas is the Christmas to remember. Up you go. Boxes checked off. Activity attended. Cross it off. Foothold firm, hand in place, up you go. 

Oh no! The cookies burned! Failure: the one thing you’re good at. Down you slide. And you keep sliding. All the way to the bottom. Glancing up, you feel despair. You can’t do it again.

Then pleading eyes meet yours. You can’t let them down. You can’t. They are counting on you. Christmas must be perfect. It must be as good as, or better than, yours when you were a child. They must remember it. Or you did fail. You pull yourself back up. Dust yourself off. You can do this. It was a minor setback. You have a plan. It’s achievable. You must do this. Whether you want to or not, you must.

With renewed purpose, you climb. You got this. It’s not so bad. You find your rhythm. It’s in sync with the beat of Christmas music. Teacher gifts, done. Christmas tree, lit. Another foothold found and passed. Concerts attended; you ascend. Then, plummet. You missed a Christmas party and find yourself back at the bottom. 

Only so many times will you allow yourself to go through this. How many times are you expected to climb? Can’t you just stay at the bottom? The mountain looms. You’ll never reach the summit anyway.  The list lengthens. Your inner voice floods your thoughts. “I knew I should have planned better. I next year I need to start scheduling everything in January so I'm prepared. My children deserve a better mother. And no one really wants me at their parties anyway; they are all just pity invites.”

Yet you keep climbing. 



It’s expected.

That’s what you do. You make the magic happen and if you don’t then…

Then what? Worlds will collide? Your kids won’t love you anymore? Your friends will reject you? Your family will mock you? Everyone will think you’re a failure? That you never get anything right?

Listen. Those voices in your head, they are lies. Pure and simple. Lies. The problem does not lie within you. The problem is that mountain of expectations. They are blocking you from experiencing the true meaning of Christmas. The one your soul craves, and the one HE longs for you to expect, with merry anticipation. 

We need to move that mountain and we can. With faith the size of a mustard seed, it will move.

Wait? Why we? Isn't this your obstacle and yours alone? Well, do you know what a herald is? A herald’s job is twofold: they share messages publicly (the more familiar role) and they pave the path for a promised event. I want to be a herald for you by clearing a path for you to get to Jesus, to move your mountain. So, I’m picking up my shovel and I’m getting to work beside you. Prepare to excavate! 

As we shovel the overwhelming mounds of expectation scoop by scoop, the hope is your perspective shifts as you realize this season should be full of expectations - expectations to meet Jesus. In everything we do, this season, let’s expect to meet Jesus there. If stringing lights on your tree is where you meet Him, string those lights. But if the thought of Christmas lights tangle your insides, don’t do it. Stop! You don’t need those lights; they are not important. Jesus is. If someone else expects the lights, needs the lights, let them string the lights. You have a date with Jesus. You are expected to meet with Him, and He’s waiting for you. Expecting YOU.

Maybe you meet Jesus in the laughter of friends. Do that. Go where you meet Him. Do the things that bring you closer to Him. Expect to find Him there.

This is your time. This is your season. Your season to connect with Him. Find ways to do that. Expect Him in everything you do, in every place you go and let everything else fall away. 

My proclamation to you today: You are NOT required to meet anybody else’s expectations. Really. You aren’t. My friend, I encourage you to sit down and really think about where and how you can meet Jesus this holiday season. Get that list back out. Start crossing things off. Cross off the things that don’t really bring you to Jesus. Cross out the lines full of worry. Feel the freedom of that power: the freedom of saying, "No."; the freedom in choosing to meet Jesus. Perhaps, by the end, your list, much like the mountain, is decimated. Good. Pick that pencil back up and write down these words: Expect Jesus.  

Background picture by VA State Park Staff
Shared under the CC License BY 2.0

That, my dear friends, is your Christmas to-do list.   

The true purpose of this season is: “God with us.” Make this your focus, your holiday song, your list.  Truly, nothing else matters. Move that mountain, activate your faith, and refocus on Jesus. Be with Him because He came here to be with you. He longs to spend time with you and desires that you will seek Him. Wisemen still do!  

I believe that’s you. I believe you have it within you to reshape your mountain of expectations. Shovelful by shovelful. It’s starting to look a lot like Jesus. Scoop by scoop. You’re transforming it into a City on a Hill where God is continually with you. Let’s pick up our shovels and get to work. This mountain will be moved! 

We’ve got to get to Jesus!

With Love, Prayers, and Wishes for an Expectant Holiday Season,
Offering samplings of life by a husband and wife.

Background picture by Don Graham
Shared under the CC License BY-SA 2.0
Make Him the true object of your desires.

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  1. I love how this started and built up and ended. I agree the focus should be on Christ that’s what makes it such a joyous time and caring for others. It’s not about the glitz and glamour but letting your personal light shine. Great post! Thank you.

  2. Thank you, Lia! I love how you phrased that, “letting your personal light shine.” Indeed, a great goal for this season. I appreciate your words of encouragement. Thanks for letting your light shine!


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