I’ve heard that stress levels and depression reach an all time high around the holidays.
Maybe it’s Rockwell-itis.
I’m referring to the unrealistic expectations we put on each other to live up to idealized fantasies of perfection ala this famous Norman Rockwell painting we’ve all admired over the years.
This was part of a series of paintings inspired by a speech that President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave to Congress in 1941. It was before the attack on Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entry into WWII when he outlined these four basic human rights — freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from fear and freedom from want.
The piece above first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post in 1943 at the height of the war and was met with instant popularity.
Not surprising because, isn’t that what we all want? “Freedom From Want?”
Unfortunately, we sometimes become so consumed with filling our wants, that we forget what we really need. And deep down we know there’s no amount of stuff…or stuffing…(sorry, I couldn’t resist) that can make this longing go away.
In fairness, I don’t think Rockwell was trying to perpetuate the myth of perfection. He once said, “I paint life as I would like it to be.”
And when I look at that picture, you know what I see? I see simplicity. Contentment. I see, not excess, but needs met in a room full of smiling faces.
Life, as I would like it to be.
“Give us this day our daily bread.” That’s how Jesus taught us to pray.
Give us just enough so that we don’t get to feeling arrogant or entitled.
Just enough so that we appreciate our blessings for what they are.
Gifts from God.
This Thanksgiving, I hope that you will find less stress as you enjoy more of Jesus.
And may you find yourself sitting at a table of just enough, where there’s plenty of happy to go around.
“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”