todd clark

How to survive the pressure of a perfect Christmas

Photo by @isayX3

Do you experience emotional stress, tension or anxiety around Christmas?

I do. And it comes from this idea that everything has to be “perfect” at Christmas.

I should host perfect parties at my house.
I should say perfect things to perfectly put-together people at those parties.

I should purchase perfect presents.
I should present a perfect marriage.

I should raise generous, selfless, perfect kids.
I should arrange for perfect family Christmas photos to be taken.
I should surf 400 websites to create and send out perfect Christmas cards.

I should spend the perfect amount of time with my family.
I should spend the perfect amount of time at work.

I should have the perfect words to share with those who are hurting.
I should preach perfect sermons.
I should write perfect blog articles!

I feel a definite pressure for everything and every moment to be spent “perfectly” at Christmas.

Can you relate?

I am not sure where we got this notion because beginning with the very first Christmas in the Bible, hardly anything was perfect.

Jesus was born into a very dysfunctional and imperfect situation; Mary and Joseph were plagued with physical, emotional, financial and relational stress.

So, if you are feeling all kinds of physical tension, financial stress, emotional pressure to present perfection this season … STOP!

[Tweet ““Jesus was not born into this world to applaud our perfection but to cover our imperfection.””]

Hope and peace is not found in presents but in presence.

Hope and peace do not come through things; they come through people.

So the question is … who needs your presence during this imperfect Christmas season?

A co-worker who is emotionally a mess?
A neighbor who lost a child, spouse or parent?
A brother or sister who is in trouble financially?
A grandparent who is not doing well physically?

Just a phone call, email, text, coffee or lunch could bring that person unimaginable peace and hope.

Before you say, “Well Todd, it can’t be that easy to bring hope to people – there has got to be more to hope and peace than presence.”

Please realize this whole Christmas season is built upon this truth.

Matthew 1:23 – The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him “Immanuel” which means “God with us.”


The reason we have peace and hope at Christmas, or any other time of year, is not because everything is perfect financially, physically, emotionally or relationally.

The reason is Immanuel, the very presence of God With Us!

Our hope at Christmas comes not from giving or receiving perfect presents but from trusting God and His presence in our lives.

So, choose to be present this Christmas!

Better yet, be HIS presence to other people and bring peace and hope into this imperfect world.

  • Michelle Reply
    December 17, 2014

    Thank you for this Todd. God is so great, he put me at home in bed so I could take a break from the stress I have put on myself and to realize I have not been present to those that mean the most and need me to just be there. So the heck with my perfectly wrapped presents and perfectly hosted party, I’m going to simply love all those in need and enjoy my Christmas. Thank you again.

    • Todd Clark Reply
      December 17, 2014

      Awesome – well done Michelle! Have a great week.

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todd clark


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