Do You Need to Give Yourself Grace This Christmas?

I’m giving myself grace this Christmas.

I don’t know about you, but it’s been a weird holiday season for me. There have been moments of gentle peace followed by periods of high stress intermingled with extreme busyness and even quiet sadness.

I could point to several things and say, “We could have done that differently, or not at all.” But some lessons are only learned by doing. And now we know.

Grace.

I could point to weeks on the calendar and say, “That’s not at all how I envisioned those days would go. Where has the time flown?”

But time stops for no man (or woman). I suspect I’m not the only one wondering how the hourglass has suddenly become so bottom heavy. And though regret is a tempting companion, I’m finding that presence is even more inviting.

Grace.

I could beat myself up because it was Dec. 16 before we ever cracked open Luke 2 to start our semi-regular bedtime readings of the Christmas story. But then the girl who’s reading it out loud (because somehow during the last year, the print in her Bible got too small for me to decipher) interrupts the familiar narrative with a question.

“What about the sheep?” she wants to know.

Huh, I think. What exactly did those shepherds do with their flocks when they ran off to see the baby in the manger?

“Did God cast a spell on them so they would stay in one place?” she asks.

Her follow-up question might make me question how effective I’ve been at teaching my children biblical truth (including the fact that God doesn’t “cast spells”). Instead, I smile at her first inquiry—something I’ve never even thought to ask, in all the years I’ve been hearing the Christmas story.

Grace.

It’s what sets Christianity apart from every other religion in the world. It’s the real reason—not just for this season, but for every season. 

It’s what keeps me from feeling guilty for collecting Santa Clauses instead of getting into Advent calendars, for not sending out Christmas cards, for not participating in the holiday choir at church, for not worrying about whether we are making enough “special” memories this year.

If I give myself grace for Christmas, perhaps it will be easier to extend that grace to others in the coming New Year.

Freely received, freely given.

Grace.

A quick note … I’m taking a short break from blogging next week but will be back again after the first of the year. In the meantime, I’ll be praying that your holidays are full of joy, peace, hope and (especially) grace.

Also … I’m linking up this week with these lovely ladies: Kelly Balarie, Jennifer Dukes Lee, Holley Gerth, Lyli Dunbar, Crystal Twaddell and Dawn Klinge.



24 Responses to Do You Need to Give Yourself Grace This Christmas?

  1. Betty Draper says:

    It just not a Christmas I say those things such as, wish I done that differently, or why did I do that and feel a heavy heart as I beat myself up. Thankful God never beats me up or berates me over the things I fail to do right or even do at all. Good post to read today. Happy New Year.

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I’m thankful for that too, Betty. And yes … this problem is certainly not limited to the holiday season for me either! I’m so glad you stopped by on the first day of the new year … many blessings to you in 2017!

  2. Amen Lois! Beautifully stated. I am so thankful for God’s undeserved grace. This has been the most unusual Christmas for me and my family in sometime. I hope to write about it this weekend. I am learning to accept His grace and not live by my feelings. Such a blessing to read your words her today. Thank you for sharing. I hope you and yours have a Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season!

  3. Oh my, that is so something my 10 year old would ask. Glad I’m not the only one without all the answers. Merry Christmas!

  4. Just yes and amen on every single word. Grace now and grace always, sweet friend! Merry Christmas!!!

  5. Lisa notes says:

    Grace is definitely the best gift that we can give and that we can receive! So giving it to ourselves is perfect. 🙂 I’m having to give grace to myself this Christmas too because I haven’t done much to prepare for it. Merry Christmas to you, Lois!

  6. Lois, Perfect post and just what I needed to read!

    This year I have been giving myself grace. This is the first year I’m not making my traditional Christmas cookies; this is the first year we haven’t had the time to do extracurricular Christmas fun like driving around to see the lights or going to several of the Christmas villages around, but in place of the “not doing”; I have been blessed in other wonderful ways, enjoying Advent in a more intentional meaningful way, that to an outsider looks like I’m not doing anything.

    When I read your daughter’s question, I said to myself, “Oh yeah!! What did happen to the sheep when they left??” lol.

    Great question!

    It was such a treat to visit here today. Merry Christmas!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      It was great to hear from you last week, Karen. I’m so glad you took the road less traveled by this Christmas and enjoyed Advent in more intentional ways. Many blessings–and much grace–to you in 2017! 🙂

  7. Lesley says:

    I love the question about the sheep, though I don’t know the answer! It’s amazing when we’re struck by something new in a story we know so well.
    And I agree, we need to give ourselves grace. As you say, if we can do that it makes it so much easier to offer it to others.
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      I don’t know the answer to the sheep question either, Lesley, but it is fun to contemplate the possibilities, isn’t it? That’s one thing I love about sharing Bible stories with imaginative children! I hope you have a wonderful New Year. 🙂

  8. Lisa Appelo says:

    What a gift we can give ourselves …and I think you’re right: if we allow ourselves grace we’re more apt to give it to others. And I love your Willow manger scene! Merry Christmas to you Lois!

  9. Lois,
    I love this post! Because I’ve been wondering about the same question as your daughter! But I leaned toward the idea that one shepherd volunteered to stay behind and let the others go, and I’ve wondered what he thought as his colleagues came back with an amazing story. Did he feel left out? Did he believe anyway? Did he stay behind and savor the vision of angels? Your daughter’s curiosity is beautiful! 🙂 And I couldn’t second your thoughts more on giving yourself grace . . . yes and amen! 🙂 Wishing you a lovely Christmas and a year full of good wishes! xoxo

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Those are great thoughts about the shepherds, Valerie! I love the idea of one staying behind to savor the vision of the angels. 🙂 Thanks so much for your Christmas wishes … I hope you have a lovely new year too, my friend!

  10. Mollie Flowers says:

    What a funny little santa!

  11. I think you’ve hit on the main reason we feel so pressured this time of year — instead of focusing on Him who is “full of grace and truth,” we’re busy stirring the pot to generate as much hoopla as we can muster. Thank you for this much-needed dose of grace — and reality!

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Michele, I love how you put it: “stirring the pot to generate as much hoopla as we can muster.” Nothing about that sounds remotely calm or peace-filled! You’re right … Grace and Truth is what we need, not a pot full of hoopla! Merry Christmas, my friend!

  12. Megs says:

    Yes, friend …grace! I overextend myself and Christmas, and really need to pull back and away for rest before my exhaustion starts to spurt out in all directions! Happy Tuesday, from your #RaRaLinkup neighbor!
    Megs

    • Lois Flowers says:

      Megs, I think my exhaustion was “spurting out in all directions” last night, despite the fact that I’m trying to give myself grace this week. But today is a new day, complete with fresh mercies. I’m so thankful for that, and for your words this morning!

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