In November we welcomed a little boy into the family which means we dove head first into the holiday season with a newborn and a toddler .... and a cat (who, by the way, takes down and destroys more ornaments from the Christmas tree than the 2 year old).
I look around at my house and there are half finished projects here and there, craft scraps and supplies drifting up and down the hall, toys and paper (where does all the paper come from??) and honestly sometimes a dirty diaper taking up precious real estate in our living room.
There is nothing about my home during the holidays that warrants a visit from Better Homes and Gardens, and certainly not Real Simple. In fact, confession: I made and iced sugar cookies with my mom and daughter with intentions to deliver them to neighbors and I ate them all.
Christmas time is anything but perfect around here.
The Perfect Christmas
My husband pulled out an article by Hannah Grieser called "A Perfect Christmas" which, when read, caused a direct hit to my heart of relief, joy, and praise for this crazy season.
There is a big difference between a perfectionist's Christmas and a perfect Christmas, and that should cause an eruption of laughter and happy tears to stream down every woman's face.
The longer I look [at the dazzling Christmas images], the more deeply I feel the perfectionist's urge to apply cookie sprinkles with surgical precision in a perfectly polished kitchen with "The Sussex Carol" playing softly in the background.
And by Ha, I don't mean that any of the above is silly. I say ha because I have five school aged boys and dishes spilling out of the sink. I have no business folding origami gift tags when I have not yet managed to fold the Himalayan Laundry Range.
I say Ha because, when I think of the unpredictable variety of activities that God has called me to embrace, I know that my inner perfectionists must die.
The perfectionist in me gets angry and frustrated when things don't happen the way I imagined. Instead of holiday cheer, I get holiday irritated because baking cookies with my two year old turned into a flour winter wonderland in my kitchen; and holiday irritated is not the new Christmas spirit.
But Hannah reminds us that Jesus didn't call us to be perfectionists, He called us to be perfect.
Perfection, however, may not look like we think it should. Children my stick their fingers in the frosting - perfect. Let them taste and see that the Lord is good. Enemies may rise up against us - perfect. Love them, for God has prepared a table for us in their presence. . .
Our perfect Heavenly Father knows how to plan a celebration, but not as anyone would expect. The first Christmas was a perfectionist's nightmare: the venue, the decor, the guest list, the smells- all wrong. . .
Instead of rich pastries - the Bread of Life.
Instead of pressed linens - strips of cloth.
Instead of fine china - a food trough.
Instead of local dignitaries - local field hands.
Isn't it quite different to look upon our Christmas season expectations through the lens of how God brought Jesus into this world?
Doesn't the stress of the holidays melt away when we joyfully take hold of what is truly perfect and good - not ornaments hung perfectly on a tree, but a home with a beloved child of God; not perfect Christmas cookie platters, but making memories with our children?
As you reflect on the greatness of Jesus, may your heart be filled with joy and may your Christmas be perfect this year and forever.