Was our Christmas perfect this year? Depending on the specific point during the weekend, you would have gotten several different answers. Everything from perfectly lovely to perfectly frustrating. From an incredibly good time with family (laughing till you’re crying and your sides hurt) to having a cat get sick on the just-cleaned carpet (losing breakfast and, shortly thereafter, having an “accident”). From a beautiful Christmas Eve candlelight service to a malfunctioning garbage disposal and a kitchen sink drainage problem that backed up into the dishwasher, which, inevitably, began to leak out onto the floor. At one point yesterday morning, I was on the verge of tears and ready to call it quits.
Thankfully, I am married to a sane, compassionate man. He stopped what he was doing, grabbed me and hugged me until I calmed down. He told me that it would be OK, to let go of “perfect” – it doesn’t exist on this side of heaven. He was right (which, in and of itself, is annoying).
Reflecting on that thought now, several hours after the last of the disasters, brings to mind that first Christmas. Yes, the timing was perfect, the setting was intentional and everything about it was designed by God but, from a human perspective, it was all “wrong”. A very pregnant, unwed Jewish girl took an incredibly uncomfortable trip on the back of a donkey because the pagan (and greedy) government required her husband-to-be to go to his hometown for a head count for taxing purposes. She ends up birthing her “illegitimate” child in a stable alongside animals because the hotel reservation system didn’t work. Their first visitors were no one they knew, a band of smelly shepherds – a career that was considered to be at one of the lowest rungs of the social ladder.
Jesus didn’t have to leave heaven – He could have left us to our own devices- but His love for us compelled His choice to do so. He set aside the status and benefits of being God to become “God With Us”, complete with all of the messy, impotent trappings of humanity. Jesus came to us, born illegitimately, to make us legitimate heirs.
In the hustle and bustle of last-minute preparations, I lost sight of that. I was trying to create a perfect holiday. Jesus created a perfect way – Himself – to reunite us with God. So, was our Christmas perfect? Absolutely!