With the holidays approaching, we often put high expectations on relationships. The sentimental Christmas music makes us want to be home for Christmas and kiss under the mistletoe. The classic Christmas movies leave us wanting wonderful family lives and magical friends.
And there’s nothing wrong with celebrating relationships at Christmas time – it’s actually a good thing. The problem comes in when we start putting unrealistic expectations on others. When we demand all family members make it to a certain get together, no matter the circumstances. When we expect estranged relationships to suddenly become warm because of the flicker of candlelight. When we put our hope in humanity instead of the God-man born in a manger.
It’s not that holiday parties should be shunned. Or relational improvements thought impossible. It’s that sentimentality doesn’t cut it. Real life means someone won’t make it for the annual Christmas Eve get together. And relational perspective reminds us that relationships aren’t based on parties. Real life means that ignoring relational problems for a season doesn’t improve anything – it simply makes us better at faking it. Real life means when we put our hopes in our earthly relationships – when we expect someone to never fail, we, in fact, set the relationship up for failure.
Let’s enjoy our relationships. Let’s celebrate our relationships. Let’s recognize the limitations inherent in our relationships.
And let’s rejoice in the relationship that will never fail us.