Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Comparison vs. Joy This Christmas Season

I am honored to welcome one of the kindest and most gracious bloggers I know to Serenity Now today. My friend Richella from Imparting Grace agreed to share with us about how comparison during the holidays can rob us of joy. I asked her to talk about something that any busy reader might be inspired by, and she really came through!

Please help me welcome Richella to Serenity Now today.

"Joy to the world!" rings the sound from the CD player. The Christmas season is upon us, and my heart swells at the sound of every carol.

I find myself wishing that I could sustain those feelings. I want the joy of Christmas to pervade every part of my life. Yet as I sit at my computer and browse through all the beautiful images, I feel my joy fade.

I see the beautifully decorated houses, and my own home seems plain and boring by comparison. I get a glimpse of heartwarming family celebrations, and in comparison I feel cold and disconnected. I click through photos of amazing crafts that someone created, and my efforts seem pitiful by comparison.

Even the good things I do seem to pale in comparison to others' work. I hear that someone has raised thousands of dollars for a charity, and my gifts seem paltry by comparison. I try to make Christmas merry for my kids, but then I read about the piles of gifts that some parents provide, and I feel stingy in comparison.  Or else I read that some parents give their children only three gifts, and in comparison I feel extravagant and embarrassed. 

Suddenly I realize that I'm doing this to myself. I'm comparing myself to others at every turn. Instead of gathering holiday inspiration online, I've gathered reasons to feel inadequate. Rather than embracing the beauty of the season, I've turned it into a kind of competition.  

Am I the only one? Or have you done it, too?
Staying Joyful During the Holidays

There must be an alternative to the endless comparison game, and I think it's found in gratitude and blessing. If I concentrate on being grateful for what I have, there won't be much time or energy left for concentrating on what I don't have. Filled with gratitude for my blessings, this year I am choosing to pray for others instead of comparing myself to them. This Christmas, every time I am tempted to compare myself to someone else, I'm going to stop and pray this simple prayer:

"Dear Lord, please bless ___________ with her beautiful ____________. Thank you for giving her beauty to share.  And please help me to share the beauty you've given me."

That's it. Nothing profound or deep; just a simple prayer of blessing. But I think its effect on me might be profound.  

This Christmas, rather than concentrating on how other people outshine me, I'm going to remember that we all shine because God has given us light. If someone shines more brightly than I do, that's okay. There's much darkness to overcome.  Someone else's bright light doesn't eliminate the need for my little light.   
Staying Joyful During the Holidays

There's plenty of room for all of us to shine our lights, 
reflecting the glory of the One whose birth we celebrate at Christmas.  

Thank you, Richella! Your words were the perfect start to this series. What a fantastic reminder to focus on thankfulness this Christmas.

I hope you'll take a moment to leave some comment love for Richella today. What do you struggle with during the holidays?

Imparting Grace is a delightful mix of home, family, and faith. Richella's posts are uplifting, encouraging, and a breath of fresh air. Be sure to visit her and say hello! She's also running a Christmas celebration link party this year, Home for the Holy Days. Be sure to link up on Monday, December 17th, and share some ways you keep Christ at the center of your Christmas!

Stay tuned for more Christmas-themed posts and projects this Christmas season in my Season of Serenity at Home series.

If you enjoyed this post or found it helpful, I hope you'll click your "Pin It" button to add this post to Pinterest, or a +1 for Google+. 

Linked to Grace at Home


  1. O my word! I do this every year. Every year I get so excited about the fact that it's that time of the year. But then when I start to see what other people have managed to do, (decorating their homes, holiday photo shoots (my husband hates family photo shoots), the food they have created,) okay lets just day everything, I feel depressed. I feel like a total failure cause when I look at what I've done it pales in comparison. And then I'm so disappointed with it all that I don't enjoy it.

  2. Amanda, you are so kind. I thank you for your encouraging words!

    As I read back over my post, I was reminded of just how much I DO struggle in this area--but this year I'm going to take this idea of blessing as a discipline. I'm going to make myself pray that little prayer of blessing every time I feel myself starting to compare my ________ (whatever, fill in the blank!) to someone else's. I am really hoping that this simple act will help me to become more aware of what I'm doing and turn those depressing comparisons into occasions for gratitude!

    I thank you so much for entrusting me to write a guest post for you. I'm looking forward to this whole series!

  3. Amen. That is why for me, whenever I see the wonderful decorations and think that I need to do more on mine.. I stop, breathe and just enjoy and realize I already have everything I need in my home - a healthy and happy family! :-)

  4. This post is beautifully written & full of great reminders! Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us today Richella!

  5. love it and the simple prayer is p e r f e c t

  6. Good Afternoon Richella, I believe it is so easy, especially when comparing blogs, to feel inadequate, but I often wonder, what is behind the perfection. Are the homes really that tidy and amazing... are the wonderful meals really cooked everyday. I don't believe so. I enjoy Christmas, I love the decorating and enjoy the cooking, but to my level. Each year I buy another ornament to add to the tree and each year the tree is filled with memories of our lives as a family. This is what I focus on, as our daughters live so far away that they are not always able to travel to be with us for Christmas, but when they are here, we all agree, we do not need presents, the present for each of us is being together.
    Your family will always remember the wonderful Christmas you gave them, the kindness and the love which you surrounded them with will also be rememebered, not how the house was or was not decorated.
    Best Wishes Daphne

  7. I absolutely love this post! I too have been guilty of letting comparison rob me of joy. I believe if we remember this post, and use the simple prayer of blessing, that this idea could be life changing!
    Thanks for sharing & I look forward to the rest of the series.

  8. Thank you for shining that bright light of yours Richella!! I'm so grateful to have found your blog and Amanda's :)

    I'm your newest follower and am looking forward to reading more of these uplifting posts.


  9. I so agree, Richella, and I have a lot of Christmas seasons under my belt.

    Keep it your way ... what your family enjoys and have fun.


  10. Great post Richella! The thing I struggle with the most at Christmas is the presents. I'm ok with the little tree we have and the minimal decorations I do. My six year old is the one in the house that loves it all soo much. It makes me happy to see her soo happy!

    But then the reality that we have to put presents for two girls under the tree hits me, and I worry we won't have enough money to do that. We struggle to make ends meet sometimes and are flat broke. When I say broke, I mean broke - like $5 left in our account broke! I just have to keep in mind that we'll somehow get by and the girls have NEVER gone without. I mean this day in age do kids really need anything? Not really.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your thoughts and inspiration!! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

    And thanks for doing this series Amanda! =)

    ~ Catie

  11. Perfectly on point ...esp at this time of the year. It's very hard to all the beauty in blogs and not feel inadequate. I used to decorate my house and think it was nice but now I'm never happy with what I have and rather than decorate my house, I spend time looking at other people's homes. Which is horrible since I do have soooo much to be thankful for. I think the solution is to step away from all the blogs and turn our faces toward OUR families and not live vicariously through others.

  12. Applause! Applause! Well said! May all our lights shine brightly this season and always.

  13. Such a beautifully articulated post! Thank you, Richella!

  14. Great post, Richella. I think we all compare in some ways. I love the prayer. It will come in handy this season.

    Thanks foe this series, Amanda. I look forward to reading more.

  15. Perfectly worded to express what I feel, too. Thank you for your transparency, Richella! Great perspective.

  16. Oh Richella, I do love your heart. I am struggling with this Christmas season right now. Not sure why, but I just am. I truly appreciated your insight here.

  17. Thanks for this wonderful and timely post!

    I've linked it to my Pinterest Christmas board. Oh, can Pinterest be a source of unhappy comparisons! So what better place to be reminded of your wonderful words of wisdom.

    I'll be practicing non-comparisons, and your prayer idea this Christmas season.

  18. I always feel so encouraged after I read something written by Richella! I am guilty of comparison especially during the holidays when everyone seems to be going overboard with decorations and gifts and yummy food! Instead of focusing on what I lack, I want to use the inspiration of other people to make myself better too.

  19. This post really touched my heart. I love the holiday season, but this year, I've found myself already worrying about everything to do with Christmas and my son. There's a lot of pressure with the holidays, and I think we have to trust and love ourselves and be thankful for all the wonderful things the holidays bring. Even if that means our house isn't quite as festive as the next one or we have too little/too many gifts. Thanks for your words.

  20. Your article was so beautifully written. Competition can ruin the spirit of the Christmas season. I know that my niece's home will be beautifully decorated so I try to enjoy the sights and scents of her home without ragging on myself because my home doesn't compare. Instead I can take pride in her creative spirit and enjoy her efforts.

  21. This was so beautiful Richella and I really needed to read this tonight! I was just looking at our calendar today and realizing that we need to carve out chunks of time for just pausing, reflecting and enjoying this season instead of rushing through it. Thanks so much for sharing your heart with us and thanks to Amanda for having you here! :-)

  22. Such a beautiful reminder. I have found myself doing the same comparison game, more times than I'd like to count. It always helps to count your blessings, and stop comparing your "day to day" with someone else's "magnificent moments".

  23. Oh Richella - I need this prayer and your enLIGHTening word so deep in my soul. my comparison gland goes into overdrive this time of year....

    Many blessings as you celebrate and enJOY!


  24. Thank you for this timely reminder! I've always struggled with comparing myself to others and this year I've added a new dimension to the stress. As a new mom I find myself comparing things to life pre-baby and how much I got done. The tips were great for reminding me to take a second to breath and be grateful for everything wonderful in my life and how everyone's light will work together to make the whole world a brighter place. Happy holidays!

  25. WOW I just found your blog and I needed to read this post. It's so easy to get caught up in wanting everything to be the best when it comes to the holidays. Consider me one more happy follower....

  26. What a wonderful post! Inspiring and thought provoking...I love the little prayer and I hope to borrow it. Thank you.
    Debbie :)

  27. Hi! I loved this post! It's so true though! We often times get caught up in the hustle and bustle, and forget about the real meaning of Christmas!


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