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Friday, December 17, 2010

Suffering From Holiday Guilt?

Something has gone terribly wrong.  Christmas – the sacred holiday that is supposed to celebrate freedom and grace --  has become poisoned with guilt.  And I’m not just talking about ordinary guilt.  I’m talking about deep-seeded, lingering guilt that keeps people up at night.

Here are a few recent examples.
  • A young mother won’t be enjoying Christmas morning with her husband and four children.  Why not?  Her mother-in-law insists on hosting Christmas Eve out of town.  Never mind that the children won’t be nestled in their beds when Santa is supposed to arrive!
  • Another mother just couldn’t find the time to make homemade Christmas cookies.  She buys some store-bought dough and her husband jabs “That’s what bad mommies do!”
  • A colleague in her 30’s finds herself still exchanging gifts with her adult cousins.  She suggests that, in lieu of gifts, they make a charitable donation in memory of their grandparents.  She is accused of trampling on family traditions and dishonoring the dead.
  • A child is crushed when he finds out that another boy in his class has given his teacher an almost-identical Christmas present. He is embarrassed and ashamed of his gift, especially since the other boy’s gift is much nicer.
  • A group of colleagues plan a Christmas lunch.  Only the “cool” people are invited, and the office nerd feels hurt and left out.  He vows to drop his unwelcoming colleagues from his Christmas card list next year!
I could go on.  And on. 

Is Christmas guilt getting the best of you this year?  If so, try replacing it with some holiday grace.  After all, Christmas is about salvation and freedom.  Start acting like it!


Heidiopia said...

Such a timely reminder!! Seems no matter how hard we all try to not get caught up in the holiday hoopla, it still creeps in. Trying to keep my focus on the manger and what's really important!

Wendy Paine Miller said...

Salvation and freedom!

Praise God and thanks for the perspective.
~ Wendy

Richard Mabry said...

Susan, Great post. I could add to your list, but you've covered enough to give us the idea. Let Christmas grace be the best present under our tree this year.

mrsgleffter said...

Thanks Susan! Trying to get out of that guilt trap and remember the Reason for the Season. So thankful that each night my 6 year old thanks God for sending Jesus to die on the cross. Puts my perspective right before bed.

Have a Merry Christmas!!!

Amanda said...

Great post! We made a lot of changes with our family traditions several years ago, including not exchanging gifts with extended family. Not everyone liked them, but most were glad that someone stepped up and stopped the craziness.