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Letting Go of Comparison This Christmas - iBelieve Truth - December 14, 2023

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“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11 NLT)

As a child, I loved the predictability of my Christmas holidays. The pattern in our house rarely changed from year to year, and I anticipated every second. From munching on snacks with Dad on Christmas Eve to exploring the backyard at my aunt and uncle’s house on Christmas afternoon. Christmas plans always seemed to fall perfectly into place.

I don’t know how my parents managed to pull it off each year while balancing the schedule between two households. But I felt safe knowing what our holidays had in store. 

Christmastime has become more challenging in my adult years, especially as my kids have grown and found independence from the comfort of the nest. As a wife, mom, and Mimi, navigating the holidays seems more like an unexpected journey of twists and turns than a familiar path. Making plans proves fruitless as I attempt to work around schedule conflicts and other factors beyond my control.

I long to create Christmas memories we can all look forward to each year, just like I looked forward to mine as a kid. But my ideas of a perfect Christmas lead me once again into an ongoing struggle with comparison.

“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.” (Psalm 16:11 NLT)

Reading Psalm 16 always uplifts me when I feel like I’m losing my grasp on what this season means. It reminds me of the pure joy of being in God’s presence. Not only at Christmastime, but throughout the year. 

Early in the psalm, David warns against following other gods, “Troubles multiply for those who chase after other gods.” (Psalm 16:4b) In my best laid holiday plans, many things can become “gods” in my life, opening the door to things like jealousy, busyness, and comparison. But I can guard against such threats with the truth that every good thing I have comes from the Lord. (Psalm 16:2

If we’re honest, we may feel like our holiday isn’t good enough. An innocent scroll through social media can easily lead to overwhelm. Post after post of recipes, decorations, and family outings threaten to put our not-so-perfect plans to shame. For me, more scrolling leads to more comparing my Christmas to the images on the screen. I start believing the lie that my efforts don’t measure up.

Comparison is an evil foe. It can cause frustration and disappointment where God wants blessings and contentment. Expectations of what we long for become the enemy of what we already have if we let them. That’s why it’s so important for us to let go of comparison this Christmas.

So how do we do this? How do we win the battle over comparison this Christmas and beyond? When discontent tries to creep in, let’s remind ourselves of God’s promise to us. His presence is always here, filling us with joy and peace through the holidays. Even if our plans take an abrupt turn, our Christmas can be wonderful because God is in it.

Let’s join together in embracing the simplicity of God’s precious gift at Christmastime— hope through Jesus. Because we can let our imperfect holiday determine our contentment, or we can trust God to draw us into the throne room of grace, where contentment, hope, and healing reside. Letting go of comparing our Christmas will give us room to hold on to our perfect Savior.

Dear Heavenly Father,

Sometimes I find myself wanting things I don’t have instead of focusing on the greatest gift of all. Thank you for the gift of your son Jesus and what his birth means for us. Forgive me for letting comparison draw me away from the joy of your presence. Help me to let go of the idea of a perfect holiday and embrace contentment instead. Thank you for the hope of Christmas. In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.

Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/AaronBurden

For more spiritual growth resources, check out the 5-day email devotional, How to Be Free from Bitterness, by today’s devotion writer, Kristine Brown. Learn more about women in the Bible and find encouragement to help you “become more than yourself through God’s Word” at Kristine’s website, morethanyourself.com.

Related Resource: Spring Clean Your Life: 10 Simple Tips for a Joyful Home & Work Life

Are you a Christian mom trying to juggle work and home? You're not alone! I'm Rebekah Scott, host of The Encourager Podcast, where I share insights gained from 15+ years of balancing family and running a business. My aim is to help you find harmony inall your important roles. Join me as we explore ways to create systems for success at home and work while keeping it real!

In this episode, we're simplifying spring cleaning with two easy tips for each of our five systems: Me, Food, Family, Work and Home. Join us as we explore practical ways to bring joy and simplicity into your home and work life! And if you love what you hear, be sure to subscribe on Apple or Spotify so you never miss an episode! 

Originally published Thursday, 14 December 2023.