When Hallmark Hijacks Joy

It's true, I am an idealist.  Aren't we all, really?  I pass the card section and see snapshots of families and houses decorated, just right. That's when the lie started to wiggle in.

"Supposed to.." tugs within my head.

Please tell me, you've heard it too?  How you have felt the pressure, at this season?  How we are "supposed to.." always be singing and smiling.  It's the time of year, we are "supposed to.." exuberate a joy, more-so than any time or season.

For a baby has been born.  A miracle. The Messiah.

And we all know, true faith rests upon the fact that all He has, all He is, should be all engulfing and sufficient.

Yet to be honest, how many of us live different?  How many of us tare away the wrapping, decorate our outward personas, while inside we are dying?

How many of us run the treadmill towards the "perfect season", then miss the quiet still, the peaceful sound, the grace that falls like snow, if we fail to purposefully silence our souls?

I can feel it.  I want to spiral down.  Like the Titanic hitting an iceberg of perfection. I have wallowed in chilling seas before, and felt the war of others boasting at how great their life is.

And it worsens as, this season, I see his little stocking in the Christmas box. Left isolated and alone. The pain rushes back as if it had been held captive.  Just then, a tsunami hits my soul.

We missed putting lights up, again. A party filled with people.  Still, the lights that are "supposed to be.."...the ones the neighbors have....plague my thoughts in the middle of this scene of joy and happiness.

I get a card from a church planter.  A lady and her husband who are quiet, serene, and the most Godly people we have ever known. They have been in my faith, like second Grandparents. The words I find..."my husband died.  It has been very hard year."

And I want to wallow in it all.  I want to sink into this ship of my thoughts.  The one Hallmark's "supposed to's..." taught me.

Yet, He flashes in front of my eyes, as I fight for truth this season.

Yes....I know I am not enough....Not enough to bake good food, decorate just right, get over the pain of loss, and all these feelings that carry me tonight...

But then, He whispers..."I am".  

And at the remembrance of His Promises....a peaceful, silent night when a manger held the secret to it all, infant-like monopolizing the power to destroy all our "supposed to's...".  Knowing this Small One has the Lordship to shatter the discontentment of wanting some idealistic life, taking back the lies telling me I need a Hallmark life, for happiness....

And I remember how the God-child rested unarmed.  How He lay quiet, vulnerable, and alone that star-filled night.  And where along the way did I loose my way?  Forgetting He had not the "perfect" life.  He was martyred, died, tortured so that I could have more than pipe dreams and the sinking of the Titanic...

And why do we miss Him?  Why do we walk by the manger, who waits with the gifts I need most, this season?

Love. Joy. Peace. Patience. Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Gentleness.  And Self Control.

And the reality of "my can't" takes hold.  As I long for the God-infant more than ever before this season?

While amazed, I stand.  Amazed to think that I ever let Martha Stewart, or Hallmark, or some worm-like thoughts ruin my Christmas.  That I let perfection rob me of the joy it is to be dependent....admitting that I needed, I need, and I will always need that hope found in a Savior.

Yes, I am not enough.  None of us are...if we are honest.  But, our God is!  That infant who chose no fanfare, no blinking lights, no decorated life...though He could have.

He took on weakness.  He took on humility.  He took on hardships with the embodiment and power of God himself.

I walk by the Hallmark section again.  But this time, fore-go the pomp, and worry, and hype that has seemed to consume me in times past.

And I lay the life of "perfection" the "supposed to's" and "I can'ts" down....

There at the feet of the manger...where Holiness swallows up the deficits all around me...

And somehow all becomes still, silent, a quiet night.

And that is where my soul finds Jesus.

Where does your soul find Jesus this season? How might you slay perfection and find the simplicity needed to see Jesus this holiday?

This post is part of the Joy Series

(Linking with LyliGrace AloneEmilyMichelle)


  1. Jen, I looked at the Christmas cards last night and basically decided they weren't going out this year... too much on our plate right now. Thanks for sharing this post with Thought-Provoking Thrusday. I needed it today. I am so thankful that He came to save the weak. :)

  2. Jen,

    How fun to "meet" you through the IP link up and to see your site. It's lovely.

    Your line: "But then, He whispers..."I am" is what grabs me most tonight. Ahh, He is!

    Merry Christmas. Excited for your adoption journey too. We have loved ones on many sides who have adopted too.

    Jennifer Dougan

  3. Lyli - So am I, my friend...so am I!

    Jennifer - Thanks for visiting! Neat to hear you share in the family of others who have adopted! What a wonderful journey, for sure!

  4. Really have enjoyed reading your blog the last few weeks. So excited about your adoption journey!

  5. This landed perfectly with me today. The feeling not good enough because you're not Martha Stewart at Christmas. And nor do you want to be! The struggle to just abide in Him! When nothing else matters. This is His season and yet it's so much harder to focus on Him at this time. Thanks for an honest post.

  6. Melody - Thank you so much for taking the time to read...especially during such a busy season! My prayer is that He will be lifted up! Thanks for popping in! Always love meeting new friends! ~ Jen

    Laura - Amen to that sister! It is harder, isn't it, to keep out eyes fixed on a manger, when so much noise and chaos can pollute this humble, quiet, serene birthday of our Savior! Glad you are feeling it too, and I am not alone here! :)

  7. Ooh, I think many of us need this post, and especially at Christmas when we do fill ourselves up guiltily with "supposed to"s. Thanks for reminding me to lay them down at the manger of "I Am." Beautiful.


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