Well, it would seem that we've once again found ourselves at the holiday season. Is it just me, or does it not feel much like Christmas this year?
Maybe it's because I'm not traveling across the country for the first time in 3 years.
Maybe it's because there's no (okay, fine, there's a little) snow.
Maybe it's because I worked through Christmas Eve.
Maybe it's because all of the "normal" events that mark the holiday season just... weren't this year.
Whatever it is, it hasn't felt much like Christmas for me.
And I'm guessing I'm not alone in this.
This year has been... unplanned.
And for many of us, I'm sure this holiday season feels much the same.
Maybe loved ones are missing - for safety or from death.
Maybe there just simply weren't enough funds to cover that "perfect" Christmas dinner, or buy just the right gifts.
Maybe you had plans of getting everything "right" for the holidays this year, but somehow things fell apart and you ran out of time once again.
Maybe the gifts you ordered never came.
As I'm writing this, I have a stack of Christmas cards on the table that I started a month ago and have yet to send.
More of the gifts I ordered have yet to arrive than are here. The three that did arrive just got wrapped about 20 minutes ago, and the tape has already decided to not stick on one box. (Good thing my brother already knows what it is, as he was the one to intercept the Amazon truck and read the box... Who knew that you could change the packaging?!)
I still have two strands of lights sitting on my chair that I never got around to hanging.
Out of the 10 songs that I planned on arranging for Christmas, I finished two.
I didn't finish planning music for this morning's Christmas service until... this morning.
And, I realized yesterday that I completely forgot to order one gift for my parents. (And several others for friends/other family members...)
And while I know that all these things are very minor in the grand scheme of life, it's still easy to see the imperfections.
But as I
stand run in place here at my desk, I'm reminded that the Christmas story has never been about perfection.
Mary? She was a pregnant teen.
Joseph? He had considered leaving Mary before they even got married.
The journey? It was around 80 miles.. on foot. (Y'all, I'm exhausted after like 10 miles.)
Bethlehem? It was the armpit of the tribe of Judah.
Jesus? He didn't even get the luxury of a home birth. He was born in a barn, because that was the only space left in the city.
The shepherds? They were nobody's - just doing their best to get by.
The wise men? They showed up an estimated two years after Christ was born!
No, nothing about the Christmas story was perfect, but such is the beauty of the gospel.
It has never been about our perfection.
It has never been about being "good enough".
It has only, ever been about the goodness and grace of God our Father, who wrapped himself in our frailty to "save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray."
Tidings of comfort and joy indeed.
From my imperfections to yours, Merry Christmas 💕