Posted by: Kris Lindsey | December 15, 2010

A Merrier Christmas

Gazing at the sparkling array of lights and ornaments on the Christmas tree is one of my favorite things to do, but putting up the tree is not. My beloved Christmas CDs and a steamy cup of hot chocolate usually sweeten the chore, but not this year. As I painstakingly labored to place each ornament in just the right place, I became aware that I felt so grumpy it hurt. How sad is that−having such a bad attitude I felt sick while preparing the Christmas joy?

Why did I dislike this chore so much? My perfectionism−again. With each stage of decorating, I faced the daunting task of arranging decorations symmetrically on an asymmetric tree. The garland needed to drape in a precise spiral. Every shiny ball must be evenly spaced and color balanced.

Frustration gripped me as gaping holes appeared at every turn. An almost imperceptible voice in my head whispered I don’t want to do this. Press on and just get it done. Must find the perfect place for this one. No, that’s not good enough. I hate this.

But wait a minute. This was a Christmas task. Shouldn’t I be able to do it cheerfully?

How Lord?

My thoughts went back to four years ago when my arms ached while decorating the tree because of nerve damage from the bends. I should be happy to have healthy arms to reach and move. How many other people are not physically able to do what I can?

I have a beautiful tree, but that wasn’t always so. In this economy, how many others wish they had a tree to adorn and enjoy? I should be grateful for all I have.

As my thinking shifted, the ache in my stomach disappeared. Just like that. The Christmas music seemed to get louder, and my newfound sense of wellbeing nudged me on.

I started thanking God for the people and events that came to mind with each ornament I picked up. My heart warmed with each fond memory.

Somehow, having a perfect tree didn’t seem so important now. Instead of agonizing over the placement of each ornament, I started slapping them up just to get them on. I could always reposition them later. But a funny thing happened−I only changed a few. Most were fine just where they were.

This year for Christmas I received the antidote for grouchiness−thankfulness. I also took another step in conquering that joy-killer−perfectionism. Now it truly is a merrier Christmas.

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