I didn’t get everything accomplished. And that’s okay. Rather than holding myself to perfection this holiday season, staying both stressed and disappointed throughout, I’m focusing on the feeling. How does this situation feel? How do I feel? How do my family and/or guests feel?
I remember the story of Mary and Martha:
The Lord and his disciples were traveling along and same to a village. When they got there, a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. She had a sister named Mary, who sat down in front of the Lord and was listening to what he said. Martha was worried about all that had to be done. Finally, she went to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it bother you that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her to come and help me!” The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha! You are worried and upset about so many things but only one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen what is best, and it will not be taken away from her.”
Perfection would be nice, and it is important to take care of what God has given us, but not at the expense of relationship. And certainly not to the point where it causes me to stop honoring Him.
Does my fussing make my guests feel welcome? Does my distraction make my daughter feel loved? Does my stress make my words kind? I would rather have an imperfect Thanksgiving filled with laughter than a "perfect" evening filled with stress.
Along with the holiday, my hormones have me on edge. (Holding steady at 98.2 and beginning to look forward to my period on Sunday, as long as it means I will start feeling better.) As I feel myself becoming impatient and irritable, I’m trying to pull back and ask, “Is this reaction reasonable?” Another question can be, “How important is this?”
I once heard a great piece of parenting advice and try to use it in all of my relationships: Is this (situation, thing, whatever) more important to me than this person?
That can easily be applied to the holidays, too. Is this event more important to me than the people I will spend it with? If not, let it go! Do you best and don’t worry about the rest. Don’t worry about perfection, whether it’s with the décor or the cleaning or the food. And certainly don’t worry about competing! Not with whoever hosted the event last year, or with the lifestyle of the other people around the table, or even with yourself.
Instead, hold God’s love and His word in your heart, allowing it to radiate out to the people who gather around your table:
So, chosen by God for this new life of love, dress in the wardrobe God picked out for you: compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place, quick to forgive an offense. Forgive as quickly and completely as the Master forgave you. And regardless of what else you put on, wear love. It’s your basic, all-purpose garment. Never be without it.