There are 12 days, 15 hours, 32 minutes and 18 seconds until Christmas arrives.
How are you doing?
Are you giving yourself room to be imperfect?
Are you tuning out some of the bombarding messages that the stores and media are sending to us?
I am more aware of this since I wrote about it and had a twist of events that only helped me to check myself.
I ordered my Christmas cards a few years ago for the first time with a new company. I was early that year and so proud of myself! I was planning to get them out ‘perfectly’ by December 2nd or 3rd.
The little orange package arrived.
I ripped into it like a child opening a long awaited Christmas present.
I couldn’t believe what I found. Perfect strangers on those cards, an adorable family, but not us! It was a mistake.
Sigh…now I wouldn’t get my cards out when I wanted to. It wouldn’t be, are you ready for this?
That thought actually crossed my mind! It actually made me laugh after I hung up the phone to correct the mistake because I had no choice but to adjust my expectation of getting those cards out. December was starting out imperfect already and I was faced with choosing to embrace it and let it go.
My grandkids have an expectation when I take them out for lunch. They have a favorite restaurant that have a tankful of fish that match those in the movie Finding Nemo and the best chocolate shakes in town.
Each time we go, it’s comical to watch them as they try to get the shake up into the straw and into their mouths. Their little cheeks suck in so hard like the fish they are watching in the tank as they work the straw. The shake is so thick it takes them awhile. Nearly every time I have to tell them to swirl it around, wait a little until it melts and be patient because then the goodness of what’s in the glass will come up eventually. They don’t realize they wouldn’t have to suck it up so hard if they would wait.
Here’s what I think we do around the holidays. We get so overwhelmed by all the jam-packed things that need to happen that we push down all the goodness that is waiting for us in the glass. We keep sucking it up and sucking it up until we make ourselves crazy. We never get the good stuff like joy, peace and love because we are trying so hard to make the perfect holiday. Instead, we should be waiting with anticipation through Advent and embracing the imperfections.
Jesus mother Mary, had no choice but to embrace the imperfections while having the greatest favor ever to be bestowed on a woman. She had to embrace the imperfection of being ridiculed because she was pregnant knowing she was a virgin and not married. In Jewish times, it was cause for her to be taken outside the city and stoned.
She had to embrace the imperfection that she couldn’t even give birth in her home town, in the comfort of her own home, with her mom around or her family. Instead she had to travel miles away and not even know where she was going to lay her newborn son down to sleep for his first night on earth.
She had to embrace the imperfection of giving birth in a smelly dirty barn with strangers all around.
Mary had to embrace the imperfection of knowing she was the mother of the coming Messiah and Savior and not knowing what lie ahead, her future uncertain.
Did she know, her baby boy was to be the savior of the whole world? And one day he would actually be beaten, tortured and then suffer an agonizing death to bridge the gap of sinful man so we could live a meaningful life in freedom and have life eternal? Did she know all of this? Did she try to control the circumstances and make everything perfect? Did she know how hard it would be? I venture not.
She had no control, so she made a choice to embrace the gifts of imperfection so she could experience joy, peace and love that was offered to her in the gift of being Jesus mother.
As we continue to approach these coming days before Christmas, let me ask.
What ‘perfect’ do you need to let go of to receive all the divine goodness that God wants to give to you this season?
Like my Christmas card mistake, where do your expectations need to be adjusted? Can I encourage you to choose joy and gratitude right now this moment and revel in the wonder of anticipating the celebration of Jesus?
It shouldn’t be that hard so why do you and I make it so? Just like those little boys with their chocolate shakes, choose to swirl the goodness around, be patient and wait in anticipation for the joy and peace to come!