You don't have to make everyone happy this Christmas

Ashley Wheelon

Tears — on Christmas day.

Even though my daughter had opened more presents than she could count, she hadn’t opened a tablet. And to make matters worse, her two younger siblings were sitting nearby, happily playing on their new tablets.

So there were tears — not just a quiet tear behind closed doors where she and I could share a moment of mourning for the tablet that wasn’t. There were multiple meltdowns in front of both sides of my family so that all would know that I hadn’t done my job.

I hadn’t gotten everything on her list. I hadn’t made her happy. By the end of the day, I felt like there was a huge “Failure” sign flashing over my head.

What I Thought My Job Was

I used to think that making people like me was my job. I’m a people pleaser by nature and I feel a sense of balance when people in my circle seem to like me.

Then I added to my job description: picking up the weight of others’ happiness and carrying it on my shoulders. In doing so, I essentially told God that even though He created these people, I knew their needs better than He did. I could do His job better than He could. I took the glory for their happiness.

What the Bible Says My Job Is

Over and over, the Bible tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matthew 22:39, Mark 12:31, James 2:8). Those verses are a command for believers to act, not a command to get a specific reaction. There is no description of the neighbor’s response.

When we love people by serving, encouraging, forgiving, and praying for them, we show them a love that only comes from God. The Bible says my job is to love people the way Jesus loves me, then He gets the glory.

What God’s Job Is

Even when my actions do make others happy, that feeling is only temporary. What they really need is the joy that only Jesus can give them.

Happiness depends on ever-changing circumstances; joy depends on an unchanging God.

Happiness depends on ever-changing circumstances. Joy depends on an unchanging God. Galatians 5:22 says joy is a fruit of the spirit. Joy is a result of having a relationship with God, who sent His Son, Jesus, to die on the cross for me and for you. No matter what my circumstances are or how people around me make me feel, I can have joy because God loves me and is pursuing a daily relationship with me. He’s doing the same for those around us.

This Christmas, no matter what presents my children, family, and friends open, I have to pause and remember what my job is. Making them happy is wonderful, but showing them the love of Jesus is joyful. People pleasing gives the glory to ourselves while loving people gives glory to Jesus. And at the end of any day, I want that sign above my head to point to Him.

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