Nothing like the holidays to make you question your own sanity.  Why did I overspend?  In fact, why do I always over spend?  Why can’t I ever have a “normal” Christmas without all the drama?  Add to the mix running yourself ragged, trying to find that perfect something, earn that holiday bonus, shine at the office Christmas party or make that perfect meal—ugh!  This is not the stuff Christmas dreams are made of.

This Christmas, change your reality.  Let go of the Hallmark Christmas story you have running in your head and embrace what really matters:  LOVE.

“Let all that you do be done in love” (1 Corinthians 16:14).

Love should be the secret sauce in all we do, but especially at Christmas time.  We all know what Christmas is really about: Jesus.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  John 3:16 is famous for a reason.  So why do we lose that focus?

This year, I’ve made the decision that every dollar I spend, every task I do, every meal I make, every cranky, challenging person I come into contact with (yes, that includes other drivers and family members) will come from a place of love.  For God didn’t just love the world, he loved me, despite my mess and brokenness.  And it wasn’t just a token gift.  It was a transformative one!  He came to give me true freedom.  Freedom from debt. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from perfection.  Freedom from the judgement I deserve, replaced by a grace I can’t deplete.  My response is to choose to give this love, this deep well of grace, to those around me.  That’s the reason for the season.  That’s what Christmas is all about.

Jesus didn’t just give us second chances.  He gave us a love that is unshakeable, a faith that never waivers, and a destiny that is mighty.  This Christmas, I choose to live like it.

FOR FURTHER THOUGHT What gets in the way of embracing Jesus’ love for you during the holiday season? Verbalize it out loud or write it down.  Be clear with yourself before God about what your challenges are.  Consider lifting them up in prayer to him and asking him to not only strengthen you in these areas, but to heal you and allow you to overcome them in his mighty name.  Remember, the Bible tells us “God does not want us to be shy with his gifts, but to bold and loving and disciplined” (2 Timothy 1:7).  Be bold.  Take your holiday season back to a place of worship in whatever way God shows you.  The outcome will be joy.

PRAYER Papa God, thank you for the gift that is Jesus Christ.  There is so much to be learned from how you sent him to us, an infant born in the humblest of circumstances, yet who literally changed the world forever.  Would you help me this Christmas to make a difference in my world today?  Would you empower me to love when it’s challenging, to give from the heart regardless of how it’s received, and do the tasks that most embrace what you’ve called me to?  Thank you that you’ve promised me a disciplined spirit that flows from a loving gratitude from all you’ve done for me.  Let me remember that at the end of the day, it’s all about a cross and the incredible love you continue to shower on me through Jesus because of it.  How amazing!  How incredible is your love!  Thank you, Papa.  Let my life reflect that love today and always.  Amen.

BARB LOWNSBURY is an author, entrepreneur, and single mother of three.  She serves as the Executive Director for The Dented Fender ministry.  Follow Barb and The Dented Fender community on Facebook and Instagram.