How to Survive ‘Perfect’ at Christmas: Part Four

photoPanicky thoughts and feelings are hovering over me today about finishing up everything for Christmas. It’s what happens to me each time I approach a deadline about anything. And even though I’ve planned well and organized my time, those moments still come. It’s a mystery. I can so easily get caught up in the frenzy and the rush around me.

I am working right now to practice what I’ve been preaching to you about in this series, embracing the gifts of imperfection this Christmas. I’ve had so many ‘aha’ moments surrounding this phrase I’ve learned recently from Brene Brown’s book, The Gifts of Imperfection. It has put language to the emotions that swirl madly around  my head and heart. These are the questions I am asking myself as I ponder the why’s and the how’s, I invite you to ask them too….

Can we embrace the fact this Christmas that our lives are messy, our families aren’t perfect, there are problems, money, relationships, jobs? Can we stay out of the pit of denial and just get it, that life is messy?

Can we let go of the need for perfection in giving gifts? What is the perfect gift anyway? Who needs anything? Does it really matter if we unintentionally get the wrong gift for them? If you and I can shop for our loved ones embracing that attitude we can actually enjoy the process.

Can we let go of the need for perfection in our relationships? Can we release the expectation to have that uncle or mom, dad, brother, sister, child to act appropriately so we can all enjoy Christmas? Can we just accept the fact that our family is messy and just not let it rob our joy? Can we give extra grace and let that relative be cranky and set a boundary? I know it’s harder than we can imagine, but if we can embrace the imperfection, we won’t be disappointed as much.

Can we let go of the need for perfection of having the perfect house at Christmas and that it’s not going to even look close to the  commercials we see on television?

Can we embrace the imperfection of what we have to be festive with, our own DIY creativity for our home? AND call it simply beautiful? If we can do that, we will see Christmas through a whole new lens.

Can we let go of the perfection of expecting strangers in our world to act with kindness and joy when we are out and about? Instead, can we embrace the imperfection of our society and seek to offer a smile or a kind word when someone is being crabby because they think we stole their place in line, or picked up the last toy they wanted?

Can we be kind to ourselves and be self-compassionate so we don’t have to like my grandkids (remember the milkshake and the straw?) suck the daylights out of the straw to get what we want? Can we remember that we don’t have to suck it up to feel good about ourselves or guilty because we can’t seem to find the joy and peace we need? If we choose to embrace the imperfections, we will experience the joy, peace and love we strive for during Christmas, even if it isn’t perfect! In fact, right now, let me tell you, it won’t be perfect!!

Jesus mother Mary, had no choice, there was imperfection screaming all around her in every way. Mary was probably only about 14 years old and yet she was a young girl wise beyond her years. Can we follow her example and with humility ask for help when we need it this year? Can we accept what happens even if it isn’t in the plan? Can we keep our hope and believe God for the future no matter now messy our lives are? Can we practice self-compassion? Can we treat ourselves the way we love to treat others?

Lastly, can we receive and accept the Jesus that was born in an imperfect barn and died on a rough imperfect wood hewn cross for us? Can we receive the gift of His love for us this Christmas?

God came near.

That is what Christmas is all about.

He is Immanuel, God with us.

God reaching down into our messy, unruly and broken lives to touch our weary soul with the kiss of His love.

Receiving the gift is so easy. And yet, at times I make it impossible. I should know better, I am supposed to be a mature godly woman and yet I still struggle with independence, pride and a host of other sins that keep me from needing Jesus. It comes down to you and me acknowledging our desire for him, that we are imperfect, that we’ve made mistakes, we’ve failed, we’ve sinned and we just plain are inadequate without him, every waking moment!

At this moment, my heart chooses to slow down and rest. The view from my window speaks of a winter wonderland covered with a blanket of peace. It beckons me to change my attitude and enter into the holy place of Christmas. Jesus. No noise, no shoppers, no presents, no rush. It is a peaceful scene that calls to me to remember that phrase from an old song~”Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” It starts with my heart, inviting God to bring rest to my busyness. It calls me to unwrap the gift of choosing joy and peace in the midst of how hard I try to keep up with expectations for Christmas. Let go, let God and walk into the story of Christmas with my whole heart and receive what God so desperately wants me to understand, the gift of His love for me.

What about you? The invitation is open to walk into Christmas 2013 differently, more intentionally and embracing the gift designed just perfectly for your life, your circumstances and what your heart is longing for.

Jesus, the manger, the gift,

His mercy,

His grace,

His Love.









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