I used to strive for perfection this time of year. I remember hanging the Christmas hand- towels in the guest bathroom; folding and aligning them so that they were exactly even took me much longer than it ever should have. I remember shopping for the perfect ribbon, and then carefully trying to tie it into the perfect bow. And then there was the Christmas tree. My children can testify to how annoying I was about the tree. I looked at tree after tree, spun them around making sure they were symmetrical with no obvious bald spots or, heaven forbid, a crooked trunk.
I don’t know when I started to let go of that quest for perfection. Maybe it began the year I lost my middle son in the mall after getting his hair cut so he would look his best for Christmas. That was the same year I almost set the house on fire when I pre-heated the oven and forgot I had stored a Costco sized box of potato chips in it. My family was due to arrive in minutes, I had a house full of black smoke, my kids gathered outside under the “meet here in case of emergency” tree and I was half dressed, hair askew as I ran around in small panicked circles. We ordered pizza that year. And we showed up to Christmas Eve service, my entire family, smelling of burnt plastic. Fire and Brimstone took on a whole new meaning to whoever sat near us that night.
It may have been that year of chaotic imperfection or it may just be a wonderful byproduct of walking longer with Christ, but I have let go of the need for perfection and actually started to embrace imperfection. My Christmas trees the last few years have had bald spots, and they have been just the slightest bit uneven in distribution of limbs. My light-up yard snowman was recently delivered with a rip on one side. I thought about returning it, and then decided to keep it, not despite the rip, but because of it. My new love of imperfection is why that hippo ornament, which is way too big to be on the branch my son chose to hang it on, is going to stay right where it is. All these little pieces of imperfection, that in the past would have truly bothered me, are now the very things that make Christmas even more beautiful to me. I look for imperfection, and I am beginning to even treasure it. Evidence of imperfection reminds me why the birth of Christ was necessary in the first place. It reminds me why I need Jesus so very desperately.
Christ didn’t come for the perfect, He came for the imperfect. He came for the broken- hearted, he came for the ugly, the twisted, the crooked and the sin-filled. As I look at my imperfections, I am so grateful he came and that he He carried all that imperfection, the sin and disgrace, to Calvary.
Perfection Himself was born into our mess.
Perfection Himself lived and walked among us and never once sinned.
Perfection Himself was nailed to a crooked and rough tree.
Perfection Himself defeated sin and death.
Perfection Himself will come again and bring us to our Perfect and Forever Home. Praise Him!
O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,
It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.
Long lay the world in sin and error pining.
Till He appeared and the Soul felt it’s worth.
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices,
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine!