Devotions, Thoughts on Christmas

Thoughts on Christmas: The (fruitless) Pursuit of Perfection

My “honest”, Christmas picture from a few years back-one happy child, because he loves Christmas no matter what, one clueless baby, one child who was “over it” and one who was sick. Nope, definitely not perfect.

“ And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.’

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’”
Luke 2:8-14

Why do we drive ourselves crazy and run ourselves ragged this time of year? I think the reason is because we want Christmas to be perfect. And we want it so much we exhaust ourselves trying to create that perfection.

And what happens when inevitably everything is not perfect? When one of the kids is sick or something is forgotten or (gasp!) the children helped with the decorations and they are not up to our standards?

We may feel frustrated at the very thought of something going wrong. That is, after all, the very reason we are running around trying to do all this crazy stuff-to make this day amazing, right?

However, we are really missing the point, aren’t we? Of course we are and I think we all know it. Still, we strive to make each Christmas special.

It is a worthless pursuit though, because no matter how many presents we wrap, or how many perfectly constructed meals we serve, we can never out-do that first Christmas. The night the Messiah was born into the world to save us.

And, that is the point of all this celebrating anyway right?

So, what would happen if we really shifted our focus this season (and every day of the year) to focusing on the gift of Jesus.

I imagine many of the tasks on our Christmas to-do lists would shrink in their level of importance and urgency. I am pretty sure we would have more peace and joy in our lives during Christmas time and all year long. I’m also confident the pursuit of perfection would dissipate in light of focusing on celebrating the One Who truly is perfect and came to give His very life for us.

Christmas is already perfect because it is the day we celebrate Jesus coming as Savior. It is already exciting, because the long wait was over and Emmanuel had come. There is literally nothing we can add to that to make it any more perfect, or any more of a gift.

So, this year, maybe we can try to be a little less “Martha” and a little more “Mary”* and spend some time at our Savior’s feet, celebrating Him and the wonderful gift of salvation He came to give us on that first Christmas all those many years ago.

Dear Jesus, You are such a gift to us. You came on that first Christmas to give Your life as a sacrifice and payment for our sin. What a wonder that is! Help me to focus on You this season and not the things I am striving to do to make this Holiday “perfect.” The sweet gift of You is all it takes to make it perfect and You have already given that. I want to thank You and praise You for that precious gift today and every day. Amen

*See Luke 10:38-42

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