Approaching Christmas, we have all these images of what our seasonal celebrations will look like.
We will find the perfect gift for everyone on our list. We will bake the best cookies in our perpetually immaculate kitchen. Our house will have the perfect decorations that were placed perfectly around our home without any hint of disagreement from our spouse or complaining from our children.
Speaking of our children, they will be in perfect health the entire Christmas break and in perfect harmony as they sing carols at church without ever misbehaving during the multiple services.
They’ll be no traffic jams on the road or long lines at the mall. Every trip will be short, sweet and full of precious memories with our family and friends.
Of course, then we wake up to our sick kid in our messy house with our half finished shopping list starring us in our face. Despite imagining an idyllic scene every year, the reality never leaves up to those images. So why do we stress out trying to bring about those impossible recreation of a perfect Christmas card scene?
It’s not like the first Christmas was “perfect” from a worldly perspective, even though we even try to reimagine it that way.
The nativity scenes in our homes and churches have the figures neatly arranged around a quiet child wrapped in a clean blanket placed in a quaint manager in a Pinterest-worthy stable.
But if we allow ourselves to look past the sterilized sheen of those ceramic or plastic nativity sets, we know that wasn’t really the case.
Think of all the things that are “wrong” with the biblical Christmas story.
- An unwed teenage mother who could have been stoned to death
- A horribly timed census requiring potentially dangerous travel late in the pregnancy
- No available rooms to house the poor couple
- The baby delivered in an area for animals
- Swaddled his first night in dirty rags
- The first people to worship the baby were lowly shepherds
- Within the first couple of years of the baby’s life, his family had to flee the country because someone wanted to kill him
Those things don’t really translate in our bright, shiny nativity scene, but that is the reality of the first Christmas. Why would we think our Christmas’ would be perfect when things were so not-perfect from the beginning?
Obviously, the first Christmas was perfect from God’s perspective. He knew this was exactly the right way to send His Son to redeem this world. What if, from God’s perspective, your Christmas — with all the imperfections — is what God can use to redeem this time for you?
Have a not-so-perfect Christmas in the midst of the rambunctious kids, the messy homes, the gift disappointments and all the other ways things don’t live up to the social media worthy celebrations.
Life may not seem right this Christmas. It didn’t that first Christmas.
But it doesn’t mean that God can’t use it for His glory and your good in the perfect story He is crafting within your life.