Family sitting near Christmas tree reading a book with the two young children

Sometimes, we get a very specific picture in our minds of what a Christmas celebration SHOULD look like with our families. It has to be like it has always been. Or it has to be Pinterest-worthy.

And if things don’t go exactly as planned, it’s easy to get upset, frustrated, or irritated. Maybe even… devastated.

This weekend, all of our carefully-made plans may not go perfectly. Flights may be canceled. Relatives may get sick and family gatherings may not be able to happen as we had hoped. Weather could cause delays. Our beautiful pork roast may get burnt. The power could go out. We may forget Aunt Sally’s gift in our rush out the door.

But here’s a word I’d love for us all, myself included, to keep in mind.

Contentment.

God is with us! Even when things seem to go wrong.

That is the most beautiful thing about Christmas. We have Emmanuel. God with us. We have Jesus. We have every spiritual blessing and provision in Christ.

We have a sovereign Lord who rules over the universe, each nation, and our families with love. He knows our needs. He knows His good purposes for us. He knows how to accomplish what is best for us.

So when circumstances don’t go the way we had hoped they would, what if we decide to be content in Christ even in the midst of messed-up plans?

Let’s make room for Jesus to work in the midst of the imperfection.

The plans are not as important as living a life of love for God and pouring out His love for those around us.

What if we invite God to work His beauty into the mess? And we let Him open our eyes to opportunities to share Jesus, spread hope, and be an example of Christ?

What if we roll with whatever unforeseen problems may come, ready to be flexible and to make the most of whatever hand we may be dealt?

This weekend is a priceless gift.

May we savor each moment and cherish the little blessings. May we allow room for Christ in our hearts that He may shine like a beacon of hope to everyone around us no matter what may happen.

Who knows? Perhaps God will bring eternal fruit because we were willing to find contentment in Christ this Christmas in new ways that bless those around us and bring joy to the heart of Jesus.

  • Now there is great gain in godliness with contentment, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world. But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. 1 Tim. 6:6-8
  • For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Cor. 12:10

Much love, dear sisters!

And Merry Christmas to you and yours!

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Do you have wisdom you’d like to share on this subject of finding contentment even when your wonderful plans take a big turn for the worst?

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8 thoughts on “What If Christmas Isn’t Perfect This Year?

  1. This was perfect timing, because we’ve been preparing for weeks to host both of our families tonight on Christmas Eve, but my husband came home sick last night with what we believe is covid again (he couldn’t get tested today). So we’ve had to cancel with our families, he’s now resting while I tend to the kids, and we’re trying to figure out what to do with Christmas. I’ve been reminding myself that God is sovereign even over this, and He has a plan and a reason.

    1. Melissa,

      I’m so sorry your husband is sick. That’s no fun. Praying you will find a beautiful way to enjoy Christmas with your little family and make some precious memories in spite of the inconvenience and change of plans.

      I remember one anniversary, Greg and I had reservations for my favorite restaurant to celebrate. But that day, after he had been working under the house all day, he wasn’t feeling well. An hour before we were to go out to eat, we realized he had a fever of 102. He insisted he was well enough to go to dinner. But I told him, nope. So, instead, we went to the CVS Minute Clinic and found out he had strep. We got him some antibiotics and takeout for supper and then just cuddled at home.

      It wasn’t what we would have wanted. But it was still a sweet time.

      And what a beautiful opportunity to show your kids the power of joy in Christ and to be able to be thankful even when things don’t seem to be ideal.

      Blessings, dear sister!

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I read this post as I sit in my room with the door closed… Snow pouring down, making everything white. I am reminded that “showing Gods love is more important than my plans.” What a simple but profound (and hard to do!) example. Perhaps as women, at least for myself, I can sometimes feel bitter or depresed when things dont go my way, and especially when my Husband doesnt see things the way I see them. Father, please sow contentment in our hearts as we keep our eyes on you this holiday season, and forevermore.

    Thanks April, merry christmas!

    1. Rebekah,

      You are most welcome. I was thinking about many, many people who are going to have a whole lot of snow and that some may not be able to go out this weekend.

      Yes, it is easy to become bitter and resentful if we don’t have what we think is the perfect celebration. But what a blessing to get to experience contentment in Christ even in unwanted circumstances and to get to shine for Jesus even in trials.

      Yes, may we rest in contentment in Christ this Christmas, making plenty of room for Him in our hearts and lives.

      Blessings, sweet sister!

  3. When I was a child my father would always tell me not to expect gifts when my birthday rolled around. Of course I always still got gifts. But I appreciate his point. I believe our expectations cause us a lot of disappointment. May we learn to embrace this season (and beyond) with contentment for the “gifts” that God hands us, without clinging tightly to perfectionism or expectations. Thank you for this encouraging post, April! I hope you and your family have a blessed Christmas!

    1. Bridget A. Thomas,

      Yes, when we have certain expectations and then reality doesn’t align with them, that is an easy recipe for resentment and disappointment.

      God has given us a wealth of spiritual gifts and blessings that we often don’t even start to access. May we tap into the riches of Christ this Christmas and every day.

      Thank you and may God richly bless you and your family this Christmas, as well, friend!

  4. Thank you for this much needed reminder as we miss our precious foster children who are now in their forever families and our own son and DIL who are not in town. I needed to be reminded of Emmanuel, God with us, our Prince of Peace and Mighty God. Be content my soul and rest in Him.

    1. Nina Stidham,

      Praying the Lord’s comfort and love will surround and fill your heart today. And that you might be able to enjoy some new memories in light of the spiritual blessings of Christ in this very moment and these circumstances.

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