I love getting Christmas cards. The ones I receive each year hang on twine across my dining room windows, as part of our decorations.
All the feels…
Every year, I plan to get my Christmas cards out. The last year this actually happened was 2013. This item on a to-do list is part of the machine of Christmas activity that pushes me relentlessly from Black Friday through January 1.
This makes me glad that my Heavenly Father knows I’m not perfect. In fact, He’s the only one, in the person of Jesus Christ, who ever was. To quote Hillsong United, in a song directed to Him, “If You sought perfection, I’d die trying to reach it…”
I love that song. It’s ministered to me many times.
Today I actually addressed and mailed out Christmas cards. But in keeping with my quest for simplicity and sanity in 2016, the Year of Priorities, I mailed out the ones I could comfortably mail out. This means a single, partially-filled label page, when in years past, there were multiple pages.
This also means that instead of the imagined photo of the hubbs, the college kid, and me, standing in front of some Christmassy background, recipients got a hastily-snapped, grainy selfie of just me.
And this poem, in which I waxed eloquent:
This is a silly, simple story, and easy to post. Life’s been darker and harder sometimes, believe me, but I spared you that today. You’re welcome.
I share all of this to be real, and to encourage you, dear friends, if your Christmas, or your life, for that matter, lacks the perfection you envisioned. After all, we’re people, not angels.
In my efforts to do better at Christmas, and get closer to God, and do more right-by-Jesus, whom (you know) it’s all about… I kinda studied Christmas this month, listening to the teaching of Dr. Tony Evans in the car and snatching snippets of other things. And my pastor did an excellent series on Christmas, too. It starts here and has 5 total messages. All of this came together to show me a few things that helped:
- We’ve sanitized Christmas, when it actually had a rather dirty and difficult beginning.
- I must really try not to let the baby (Jesus) get smothered under all the trappings of the holiday season. This takes a conscious, focused effort.
- There is but one proper response to Him, no matter what time of year it is, and that is to bow down in worship.
As a redeemed mess, and a fellow sojourner, I can’t really give any advice, but I can share my story. So here it is: I found tiny ways that worked for me to do the points above in all the hustle and the bustle of the season. I dedicated myself to them, and stuffed them into the crevices of my life. I studied Brother Lawrence, and how he practiced the presence of God while washing dishes, and I adapted his principles to my days. I bowed my knee first thing, every morning, on the ancient, 1990s advice of Beth Moore. I did it all imperfectly. And I relaxed into His faithful, caring arms–trusting Him, and knowing He understands and loves me anyway.
All of this is hard. But the hard is what makes it great, you know. And we’re all in this thing together.
So, there you have it. My messy Christmas. My imperfection. And the freedom, the blessed freedom, of being a follower of Jesus Christ, who did it all for me.
“You’ve overcome this world with love
And made my fight Your own
I lift my eyes and throw fear aside
And sing out into the night…”
Merry Christmas! I hope you find Him this season, somehow, somewhere, if even for a moment. I hope you figure out a way to sit at his feet in all the craziness. He’s the Main Thing. He’s your One Thing.
These scriptures helped me in the Year of Priorities:
But seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all of these things will be added to you.
And Jesus answered and said too her, “Martha, Martha…you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed…”
And behold, a woman in the city who was a sinner, when she knew that Jesus sat at the table in the pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil, and stood at his feet behind him weeping. And she began to wash his feet with her tears, and dried them with the hair of her head, and she kissed his feet and anointed them with the fragrant oil.