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Picture Perfect

“Blessed is he who expects nothing, for he shall never be disappointed.”

Alexander Pope

            It seems many expectations are placed on us during Christmas. For numerous years I hoped to create a picture perfect Christmas for my family, the kind that is a cross between a Norman Rockwell and a Thomas Kinkade painting. I imagined softly fallen snow, joyful children dressed in red, pine trees adorned with homemade ornaments and the scent of holiday cookies baking while Christmas carols play. Even though I’ve laid my expectations down, the holiday’s busyness and the too long to-do lists can cause stress. The very thing Christmas originally brought forth, the Prince of Peace, now tries to steal that away.

One remedy I’ve found comes from the timeless truth of Psalm 55:22. “Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you.” Cast means “to throw or fling.” Another definition is “to discard or shed.” Cares refers to “a heavy sense of responsibility, worry or anxiety.” Last week I wrote out all the things I’m currently concerned about, including weaknesses and inabilities, and then turned each one over to the Lord.

The word sustain has to do with “providing nourishment, to hold up or prop.” Even though I know I can’t handle what life brings, I know the One who can. When I am beginning to go under the sea of responsibilities I cry out to God for help. I cast my concerns onto Him and He throws me a life preserver, Himself, which buoys me back up.

The first Christmas wasn’t picture perfect. Baby Jesus didn’t lie on a soft, down comforter, but instead upon scratchy hay. Our King wasn’t born in a palace but in a manger. The humble beginnings of Jesus foreshadowed our Savior’s humility, which eventually led to His death on the cross.

Discard your expectations this Christmas season and you will have less disappointment. When you’re overwhelmed, cast your cares on the Lord and watch Him prop you up. Exchange your anxiety for the Prince of Peace and this Christmas will be that much sweeter.

“Many people feel so pressured by the expectations of others that it causes them to be frustrated, miserable and confused about what they should do. But there is a way to live a simple, joy-filled, peaceful life, and the key is learning how to be led by the Holy Spirit, not the traditions or expectations of man.”

Joyce Meyer

Relevant Reflections:

  1. What concerns or expectations are weighing you down this Christmas?

  2. In prayer, throw your cares upon the Lord and experience His sustaining power.

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