When Christmas Isn't Perfect

I watch as she feeds my granddaughter, cradled warm and soft against her. A diaper change, then a fresh, pink onesie. How gently she dresses her, poking one floppy arm, then the other through uncooperative sleeves. 

“There, she’s ready,” she says, and kisses the top of her fuzzy head. “Will you hold her while I get changed?” 

Will I hold her? Would I like to gaze deeply into a pink sunset or savor something sweet? 

“I’d love to,” I say, and my daughter settles the baby onto my lap in one smooth motion. Lauren, the two-year-old, flits by, strokes the top of her baby sister’s head like a treasured lovey, and sings the ABC’s: 


Somewhere from the Netherlands of the baby’s diaper, a discordant sound interrupts the alphabet chorus. Lauren stops in her tracks. Her eyes widen as she recognizes the familiar noise. 

“Sissy poo poo.” 

“Yes, Sissy poo pooed,” I acknowledge, as warm wetness forms a perfect circle on my leg. I hand Lauren a wipe, and she cleans her stuffed Minnie’s felt bottom while I gently clean the chubby cherub, who is staring up at me with a self-satisfied smile. I smile in return, shaking my head. 

The Christmas season is upon us. Despite road rage and long checkout lines, people smile more. We remember to say please and thank you and look for opportunities to give sacrificially. We make time to visit with family and friends, and most gatherings are sweet and special. 

But every now and then, someone poo poos. 

Not literally, I hope, but inevitably something less than idyllic happens to mar the Hallmark Channel scene. Someone says something unkind, or selfish, or rude. A family member or friend expects to be served rather than serves, takes instead of giving, or criticizes instead of compliments. 

When this happens, and it will, we have a choice—focus on what is wrong, or focus on what is right. We can compile a mile-long list of what’s wrong with the world, our lives, or our holiday celebrations. Or we can make an equally long list of what’s right. Even if we have to think a bit. 

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things,” (Phil. 4:8). 

Thank you, Lord, that Christmas is more than gifts under the tree. Christmas is Christ with us, the hope of glory. 

Thank you for lifting us out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, setting our feet upon a rock, and establishing our goings, (Psa. 40:2). We don’t know why you saved us, but we’re so glad you did. 

Thank you for our families. Flawed and frustrating though they may sometimes be, they are ours by your design. You have used them in many ways to demonstrate your faithfulness. 

Thank you that your mercies are new every morning. 

Thank you for providing for us all the days of our lives. 

Thank you for your Holy Spirit’s presence that comforts and consoles, instructs and inspires, and empowers and emboldens. With him, we are never alone. 

Thank you for those you’ve brought into our lives to walk the faith walk with us. Spouses, parents, siblings, friends. Those who love Jesus and love us give us glimpses of what eternity will be like as part of your great big family. 

And thank you for Jesus, who binds up the brokenhearted and heals all their wounds. 

Merry Christmas.

I love the newly-designed, glossy cover!

I suspect there are quite a few busy women on your Christmas list. Friends, co-workers, fellow church members, and your children's teachers, coaches, and babysitters, just to name a few. If you'd like to give them a gift that will draw them closer to the Lord, encourage them to spend time in God's Word, and think biblically, Hungry for God ... Starving for Time, Five-Minute Devotions for Busy Women is the gift you're looking for. 

And what about those special women in your life that may not have a relationship with the Lord? In the last devotion in the book, I share what it means to have a relationship with Jesus Christ. Giving someone you care about a copy of HFG is not just passing along spiritual encouragement, it's a gentle, winsome way to share the gospel.

Hungry for God . . . Starving for Time is available through,, and Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas

If you live in the Columbia, South Carolina area, I'd love to autograph and personalize copies for your special friends. Email me at

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