Resentment is the Murderer of Joy

I love Christmas!  It’s my favorite holiday of the year because it means so much to me.

I’m so grateful for the Christ-child, who was born to be our Savior, and I so deeply want to honor Him and celebrate His birth.

But over the years, in my effort to create the perfect celebration for my family, I often cried MANY tears of frustration and disappointment. Many of those years I would stress myself out to the point where I would even lose my voice and become ill! 

I had so many unmet expectations of what things should look like and how things should go. It filled me with resentment for my spouse and my kids, and that resentment absolutely robbed me of my joy.

I had created a manual for Christmas! 

🎄The house must look perfectly decorated and we must decorate the tree, bake goodies and build gingerbread houses together, all while listening to Christmas music,- and then drink hot cocoa together.

🎄My husband would be romantic and find the perfect gift, AND notice the mistletoe we were standing under, AND take out the garbage before I asked AND plan the perfect holiday dates, AND be thrilled about hosting parties, AND AND AND…..

🎄My children would be effusively grateful for every carefully selected gift, And be well behaved, AND be each other’s best friends.

🎄Everyone would cheerfully pitch in and clean up together.

🎄Everyone would offer to help me prepare for our parties and deliver neighbor gifts, and whatever else I needed, -before I asked…

🎄I even had a manual for the weather, -it MUST snow in order to be a Merry Christmas!

I read this now and laugh!  WHY OH WHY did I put myself through this???🤦‍♀️

The truth is, I have a lot of compassion for this past version of me.  She was doing her best and she had such good intentions, -she tried SO HARD!  But I’m so glad she has evolved to a much happier, relaxed version of me, so that I can truly enjoy all that the season has to offer.

If this resonates with you, I encourage you to drop your manual for Christmas.

Let go of your need to control everyone else’s experience, you never could and you never will.  AND it’s not your job.

My husband and son set our tree up the Saturday after Thanksgiving this year.  The former me would have insisted we decorate it immediately and have the house looking perfect.  

The new me?  Well, we waited a FULL week in order to be able to find time to decorate it together, and it didn’t bother me one bit!

I no longer stress out over shopping.  Of course I want to buy things my loved ones will want, but I no longer expect my gift to reflect my love.  

My people know I love them by the way that I treat them!

We have simplified, edited and constrained.

We order out instead of cooking for hours.

We easily say “no” when our calendar gets too full.

We decide together how we want to celebrate, by deciding what we want to feel. Peace. Love. Joy.

We embrace paper plates, cut down on obligations and leave plenty of space to enjoy a few Hallmark Movies or board games.

So, if you are feeling resentful dear friend, I say this with so much love, “You must understand you are the one creating it, it’s no one’s fault but your own.”

I know it’s true, because I did it myself for so long!

Here’s what is true; you don’t have to do anything.

Not the tree, the baking, the gifts… NONE OF IT.

If you want to do them, own that it’s your choice.  

You can ask for help, but understand that other people get to choose too. We have no right to be resentful when they don’t want to spend their holidays, or exert their time and effort the same way we do.

When we walk around through the holidays with a chip of resentment on our shoulders, we are NO FUN to be with!  We wreck our opportunity to love and laugh and create fun memories.

Resentment is the murderer of joy!

This Christmas, I invite you to kick resentment to the curb.  Relax, practice self care, and spend your time and energy thinking the thoughts that will foster more love and joy in your heart.