Deb Toering is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with a wide range of client populations and presenting issues, Deb is also an engaging public speaker. She has spoken in front of various groups across a range of topics including marriage, bullying, ADHD/ADD, and teen leadership.
Some would say Christmas is about gifts and decorations and parties and carols and family. Others would see Christmas as an opportunity to make money or for many, just a time to add to their credit card debt. For some, Christmas only makes them feel sad because it is a reminder of loved ones who are no longer with them. Most would agree that one theme that tends to run through the season is love.
If it is about love, what does that look like when life is full of broken relationships? There is conflict within marriages, families and friendships. How are we to love those we are in conflict with or those who have hurt us?
Christmas can be a time of high expectations. We so want to be living in that Hallmark movie where everyone gets along, homes are beautifully decorated, snow is falling and love conquers all in the end. We see social media posts of happy families posing in matching sweaters. We shop for that perfect gift to make our loved one feel special and loved.
The whole process of Christmas from planning, to gift buying, to decorating, to meal preparation, to having overnight guests can be exhausting. We want it all to be perfect. Even if it looks perfect, that one day cannot magically heal all the dysfunction in our lives.
We are supposed to act loving but at times that seems impossible because we do not feel loving toward certain people. Relationships are complicated. We all long to be loved unconditionally. We hurt each other. Some hurts are so deep that talking through them with a professional counselor can help to bring healing.
From God’s perspective, Christmas is about God Himself, coming to earth in the form of a baby. That baby grew up, lived a holy life and gave His life, the ultimate act of love so that we could have His life and love living in us. The ultimate sacrifice was offered; the highest form of love. We can only truly love because He first loved us. In the end, it is all that matters. The decorations, gifts and Hallmark movies will all fade away and the question we will all hear is “Did you love others like I loved you?”