My Perfectly Imperfect Christmas

NativityAs I sit to write this week’s post I’d like to tell you that I’m listening to the soothing sounds of Nat King Cole singing “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire.” Doesn’t that sound lovely?

However, that is not exactly the case. Instead of Nat’s peaceful crooning, I’m listening to the not-so-peaceful strums of hammers pounding and power saws whizzing from my kitchen.

With less than two weeks left before Christmas, my house is undergoing a major renovation. New floors, new counter tops, a new fridge and dishwasher, and new windows, are all finding their way into our home between now and Christmas day.

I know what you’re thinking. New windows in Michigan, in December, the week before Christmas? Who does that?

We do, that’s who!

This stroke of brilliance wasn’t my choice. My mom and dad, who I live with, have wanted to do these repairs for years, and I know this isn’t exactly the timing they had in mind either.

A couple of weeks ago, on the Monday after Thanksgiving, I woke up feeling discouraged and frustrated. How on earth were we ever going to make Christmas happen in a house turned upside down?

How would we manage the tree, the decorations, the baking? How would we wrap presents, listen to carols, find joy, find peace in the midst the noise, the chaos, the mess?

These questions became even more compounded when I learned that my sister and her family…my nephews…my niece, would not be coming home for Christmas. (But they always come home for Christmas!)

To top it all off my mom and dad who I’ve lived with for the past five years will be relocating to North Carolina in January. I’ve known this was coming for a couple of months now, but still, the idea feels like a cloud looming over me, and I can’t begin to fathom just how much I’ll miss them when they’re gone.

How do you handle the crushing weight of a Christmas that breaks your heart?

As my house, my family, my way of life seemed to come crumbling down around me I stood before my husband and cried.

“Jen,” he said, staring straight into my eyes. “You can’t let it steal your joy. It’s your lack of joy, not Christmas, that’s killing you.”

Ha! Joy? In this?

Yes. Even in this. Especially in this.

While my husband’s response smacked of ease and simplicity, I soon realized that he was right. (Yes, honey, you were right!) And I knew what I had to do.

The time had come for me to embrace a perfectly imperfect Christmas.

No matter the circumstances that come with this holiday season, the lack of perfection in my Christmas, in my life, doesn’t make me any less loved or God any less good.

When Christ came to this earth on that very first Christmas, so many years ago, the circumstances that surrounded his birth were less than ideal.

The pregnant woman on a donkey…

The stable that staged a birth…

The parents young and scared…

The jealous king hunting a newborn Savior…

There is a lot about the first Christmas that wasn’t perfect and yet God used all of it to usher in his perfect plan.

Out of all this imperfection…this impossible…the greatest perfection, the greatest possibility, the greatest hope was born.

And this hope…this redeeming, game-changing hope…it’s as real and alive today as it was that night in Bethlehem.

Our perfect Savior holds us in perfect peace, with the power of his perfect love. My Christmas, your Christmas, doesn’t have to be perfect. It just has to be about the One who is perfect.

Peace, joy, and life, they never come from our hard fought attempts at perfection. They only and always come from the Savior’s perfect love.

This holiday season, don’t lose your joy, your peace, or your Christmas to the idol of perfection. In the midst of the noise, the chaos, the mess, in the midst of all things imperfect, cling to the one who is perfect, and find in him the only perfection we need.

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