The Complaints of Christmas
It is mid-November and I already hear Christmas music in the stores. There are Christmas decorations on my street. I have Christmas special events on my calendar already. And last Sunday morning, as my family gathered in church, I heard the complaints of Christmas.
I love Christmas for many reasons. I loathe winter so Christmas is a bright spot. For years, Christmas has been an opportunity for my family to use our talents. We used to produce an annual Living Christmas Tree and arrange the church Christmas Eve service.
I like the music. I like the lights. I like giving gifts. And I like the global party because the majority of the world celebrates Christmas in some way. Above all, I love the reverence many of us give to the birth of Jesus.
However, it can be a hectic time of the year, and sometimes parents are guilty of the “complaints of Christmas.” Just as at other times of the year, children watch their parents. As they watch us, they are forming their own ideas about what Christmas should be.
“It’s too busy, too expensive, too much travel, and so much work. I’ll be glad when it’s all over!” Some children hear more complaints than compliments about the season. No wonder so many children put their hopes in Santa; he’s jolly all the time. (Of course that whole “free stuff if you’re good” promise might be part of his popularity as well.)
Sometimes the pressures are thrust upon us, but I have found much of what folks complain about is a result of their own formation; they have overly high expectations and impossible ambitions. I’ve found the best Christmas memories are almost always about the simple things.
Are you a complainer of Christmas? If so, do something about it:
- If it’s too busy – simplify it.
- If it’s too costly – economize it.
- If it’s too much travel – travel less.
- If it’s too much work – delegate.
- If it’s too much (whatever) – change it (if it’s within your power).
I challenge all of us parents—if we’re guilty of the complaints of Christmas, let’s instead make this a season in which we thank God for His earthly presence, not one for which we thank God when it’s over.
One of the best gifts we can give our children is the gift of a complaint-free Christmas. As much as we can, let’s focus on “Joy to the World” and “Peace on Earth” in our homes this year.
By: Dave Trouten is the married father of two teenage boys and a Division Chair & Professor of Communication at Kingswood University.
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