A Note from Chris Adams: I love Hallmark movies. They are always upbeat, family oriented, and encouraging. And they always have a happy ending. But I also realize that they don’t often reflect real life where not everything is wrapped up in neat packages with a bow (like how I wish all my Christmas gifts were already wrapped!).
Real life with real people is messy, busy, fun, difficult, and much more. But when we look at social media, sometimes we think everybody else has a picture perfect Christmas with family. Not true! Read today’s post by Dr. Deb Douglas, First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA and comment to help moms in your ministry enjoy real (not perfect) life in this season.
Some people are gifted in making memories. They know how to create a moment that will be cherished for years. Others of us are trying to make it through the moments, especially during Christmas. The hectic season’s calendar makes it more conducive to surviving the moments than creating them. There is plenty of room for both kinds of memory-making moms.
The problem is guilt.
Moms see others posting sweet, warm and fuzzy pictures of their Christmas celebrations and then compare these little snapshots to the chaos of their own celebrations. Tiny voices of comparison start a conversation: “Look how perfect her tree is!” “And she looks so fabulously skinny!” “How does she keep her kids looking so clean and cute!?” Comparing one little glimpse with the reality of life leads to panic. Guilt sets in and happy little moments of chaos become inadequate and miserable.
Another Christmas ruined.
Banning happy, memory-filled pictures from social media isn’t the answer. So, what is the answer? One thing we can do is help moms realize that what’s behind the picture may not be quite so glamorous. As we encourage moms to simplify Christmas throughout this season’s emails, texts, and posts, add in these reminders:
- Encourage moms to turn off their phones during Christmas celebrations. Posting pictures later is fine, but one post leads to glancing through other people’s pictures, which quickly leads to comparison.
- Judge not. Remind moms that one picture does not tell the entire story. Once, within 15 seconds of a picture being snapped at my house, I managed to catch my hair on fire! The fiery chaos was much more typical than the posed pictures!
- Share a story. A great part of a Christmas coffee or get together is having moms share their favorite Christmas memories. The good, the sweet, the crazy, the funny, and the ugly!
- Continually shift the focus to the Christmas story.
I have two conflicting favorite Christmas memories. One is my mom telling the Christmas story using a beautifully made nativity scene. With candles burning, her soft voice, the details she shared, we knew this was a precious gift she was giving. It was a beautiful moment and would have made the perfect Christmas card photo.
But then there’s my other favorite memory—the wrapping paper wars! As gifts were unwrapped, the paper was balled into missiles and launched across the room, erupting into laughter. My great aunt was the champion of this game even on her last Christmas at age 99. Not such a pretty Christmas card photo, but it’s a perfect representation of my family.
Christmas memories do not have to be Hallmark channel Christmas movie perfect. Encourage moms to enjoy Christmas and make some memories—funny or fiery!
Dr. Deb Douglas has served in women’s ministry for over 37 years. Now she spends her time working with Purchased Ministry, a ministry to women in the sex trade industry. Deb is also the Director of Biblical Counseling at First Baptist Church, Bossier City, LA. She was the first to graduate from New Orleans Baptist Theological seminary with a Masters degree focusing on women’s ministry and has earned a Doctor of Education in Ministry degree from NOBTS. She is “Pearl” to 3 sweet grand babies, “Mom” to Jared Douglas and Katie Chavis, and wife/sweetheart to Paul Douglas.