The holidays are hard. I’m just going to come out and tell you that while the world is putting up twinkling lights I’ve found myself bracing myself for some hard stuff. I think it’s not really the holidays, but when you have challenges that line up with the holidays the dichotomy between the two seems to magnify the places that are a struggle.
I’ve learned three prayers for my holidays. I’m not the Scripture quoting kind of gal – I figure you can see my heart without the need for verses and sometimes those things make the words less powerful and more “I’ve got it all together.” So first, I need you to know how deeply messed up I actually am.
I’m not perfect. I’m a single mom. I have struggles. I’ve overcome poverty, which is one of my greatest accomplishments beyond seeing all my kids read. I’ve also learned to find true happiness and joy. Point there. But the rest of me? Really sloppy. Most days when I’m in the drop off line I look like I rolled out from bed and I’m sure the lunches I’ve packed are less thean ideal and my house most of the time is messy EVEN THOUGH I’m a neat freak. My kids are not neat freaks so instead of fighting the battle I’ve learned to compromise. And clean after they go to bed.
So back to the holidays.
This is how I’ve learned to make it through.
Prayer One: Please give me the ability to love the people around me. Including those in line who are crabby and holding up the line trying to argue that the price was $11.99 not $12.49. Including everyone who has forgotten how to drive. Including all the relatives, friends and others who need something last minute. Including my children. And even for my ex, despite the fact that I haven’t received any child support in months and months. But especially for myself. Let me love me with all my flaws and mix ups and in that moment let that love radiate to all around me.
Prayer Two: Thank you for all the good things around me. Despite the news. Despite the presents under the tree might not be exactly what they all want. But rather thank you for all the people showing up day after day. The doctors and Walmart employees and gas station attendees who work even though it’s supposed to be the most magical day of the year. So thank you. Let me see the good and be a good maker, not a good taker.
Prayer Three: Please help me to be kind and accept this season – good and bad and normal. Oh my this, the kindness. Make me a person of change and love. And make me mindful of the moments, not the big stuff.
And that’s it.
I will mess up. You might get behind me in the line at Target here in Nashville and I hope you see someone trying to put a smile on her face. But if I look crabby or am struggling, remember I am human. Maybe that should be prayer four: remember that everyone out there – working, in cars, shopping, at events, and so forth – is also human. Human beings trying to scrape through a month with expectations and still realities while being told “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
It just might be.
If we remember to love first.
And remember that the holidays aren’t about the stuff.