Do you host anyone during the Christmas season? Maybe family, neighbors, or dear friends? There was a time when I had guests with great reluctance.
I have always loved Christmas, but somewhere along the way I became a Christmas perfectionist. I guess it started when I was a little girl obsessing over our Christmas tree. I wanted the silver icicles perfectly hung on our tree, but my younger sister basically threw them on the branches. When giving her instructions didn't work, I resorted to rehanging them myself when no one was around.
That began years of wanting everything perfect during the holidays—decorations, food, gifts, house, and family. Although I wanted to have guests over, I didn't unless everything was exactly as it should be. What I saw at the stores gave me a false perception of what “everyone else” had. Then, there were the Christmas parties we attended (usually church parties), which seemed to always take place in large and expensive homes fabulously decorated.
Since God calls us to be hospitable, I wasn't exactly being obedient (1 Pet. 4:9; Heb. 13:2).
Our homes belong to God, not to us. He wants us to use them for his purposes, not to impress others. I actually enjoy hosting get-togethers, especially at Christmas, but somehow I bought into the cultural demands for stuff, perfection, and extravagance. In trying to please people rather than God, hospitality turned from joy to stress.
Once I realized what I was doing–or not doing, I started hosting people every December. I serve whatever I have time to prepare; I use the decorations I already have; and I get my house as clean as time allows. What I can do without stressing is good enough. Instead of worrying about what others think, I now enjoy doing what I can.
How do you keep perfectionism out of Christmas?