The sadness I so often felt at Christmas I knew was in large part because of unrealistic expectations. It had been that way since my childhood. It was time to stop that habit of mind!
I now understand and deeply appreciate all that both my parents did for their three children. They both sacrificed and gave selflessly of their time, energy, and resources so that their children could have advantages they did not. Through just plain hard work and common sense and thrift, they raised our family’s standard of living year by year.
When I was two years old, we moved to the lovely little antebellum town I grew up in. My parents had to really pinch pennies at first but by the time I was in elementary school (back then that was fourth through sixth grades), our family was well established and respected in our little community.
However, about that same time I began to notice differences – in cars, clothes, houses – all the trappings of wealth or lack thereof. My family was working class, and I always wanted more and better toys then clothes, radio or whatever at Christmas than I got.
I never knew, until late in high school, that the parents of some of my classmates – the very ones who wore the “groovy” Villager skirts and penny loafers and flaunted Gucci purses and every other gadget and gizmo that was advertised – did not pay their bills. Some of them also had other, more serious financial problems created by excessive spending.
My family was working class but our bills were always paid, we always had an abundance of good, healthy food to eat and all the clothes we needed and then some. I learned even later that some of the small business owners in town had been forced to close their shops because the folks who appeared in the society page owed thousands to the plumber, the contractor, etc.
Once I became a parent, then a single parent, I understood the sacrifices my parents had made. However, for all these years, even with all the writing about gratitude, this little poison of jealousy at Christmas time has been hiding in the dark corners of my heart.
Dear Father in heaven, I can only ask for Your forgiveness. Forgive me for this sin of coveting, or desiring, what other people have. Forgive me of being ungrateful – after You have been so very gracious and faithful each day of my life to provide so generously for my every need and those of my family. Thank You, for shining the light of truth into my heart and freeing me from the bondage of jealousy. During this season, when we celebrate the greatest gift ever given – Jesus, Your very own Son, help me keep my mind on You.
“May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O LORD, my Rock and my Redeemer.” (Psalms 19:14, New International Version)
Below is a link to a video by Christy Nockels and Janna Long that embedded this attitude even deeper in my heart. May it do the same for you!