Thursday, December 17, 2009

Perfect Imperfection

This holiday season has not been one of joy for me or my husband. We've been so stressed out about all that our children want for Christmas and the fact that we just can't afford to give them everything on their list this year, or even close. We've been so focused on the struggles that we've faced this year and the stress that we've allowed to enter our lives that it has really distracted from our joy and happiness during this magical time of year.  We've allowed ourselves to get caught up in the "world" of Christmas rather than the "heavenly world" of the holiday.  A few days ago, something occured to me, after I'd spent the morning in silent tears and worry.

Around our house, I'm typically the person the one who drags the box out to the living room and sorts all the branches, assembles the tree and proceeds to fluff each branch, until the artificial tree is as full as I can get it.  I, then, set out to string the lights and the garland and open each ornament box, carefully, while making sure each child gets to hang an equal number of ornaments on the tree and that each child gets to hang the ornaments that he/she has made.  I make sure that every ornament we own is given a place on the tree. I gently instruct where each ornament should go, so that the tree is evenly scattered with these precious memories and reminders of our life, as a family.  I place the angel on the top of the tree. I put the Nativity scene out.  I, typically, am in charge of the decorating for Christmas and then I don't complain.  That's just the way it's been. 

However, this year, in my lack of desire for the holiday to come, I was just not as excited about Christmas as my kids.  I wasn't looking forward to lugging all the decorations out and I was not looking forward to having that huge tree up in my living room.  To be honest with you, I don't think my husband was, either.  We were kind of hoping the kids would forget it was Christmas time, I guess.

Nope. That didn't happen. The kids were so anxious to get the tree up.  They kept asking "Can we put the tree up today?"  Finally, Daddy gave in and dug everything out. 

Justin and the kids set up the tree and decorated it this year.  He tried to "fluff" the branches, but they're just not as "fluffed" as I'd like them to be.  He forgot to put the garland on the tree at all.  He didn't pull out all of the Christmas boxes out of storage, which means not all of our ornaments are on the tree.  There's one small section of white lights on the tree that will not light.  The tree skirt is constantly in disarray and messy.  The ornaments are not evenly place.  My tree is not perfect. 

But, you know what.  Neither was this world when Christ was born on Christmas Day.  His mother was made to give birth in a stable!  He was laid in a manger, out of which livestock ate their meals.  He was wrapped in rags.  Our perfect Lord entered this imperfect world, without complaining.  He didn't tell the Father "You need to move things around and clean it up, first.". (Read Luke 2)

What's even more amazing to me is that I was not perfect when Christ later died on the cross to cover my sins with his perfect light.  No one was perfect. No one will ever be perfect. We are always messy, disorganized, unfluffed, and full of flaws.  Christ doesn't care.  His light covers all of that ickiness!  Everyday.  Every minute.  Every single time.

Now, think of my imperfect Christmas tree.  It was decorated by my children and my husband during a time when I really did not want to mess with it.  I can look at it and find lots of "flaws", but guess what.  When the lights are on, you can't notice even one!  You don't see the holes where the branches are unfluffed.  You don't notice the messy tree skirt. You don't notice the missing garland or all of the ornaments that aren't on the tree.

What you do see is a beautiful glow of multi-colored and white lightes.  You do notice all of the ornaments made by my children and you remember all of the years we've had together, as a family.  That's what Christmas is all about.  Letting the light outshine the imperfections...on your tree and in your Life.  Christ's light is that powerful.  My children will remember the example we show them of Jesus' amazing sacrifice when he came to this world as a babe and left this earth in a horrible death, only to conquer the grave and save us from our own imperfections. 

I will remind myself, this holiday season, and I will trust that God will use the financial struggles we face right now to remind us to lean on Him, not on this world, to give our kids happiness and joy.

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