Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Lessons from Christmas #2: Chasing the Perfect Christmas



We had a white Christmas this year.



A white Christmas has long-been on a mental list I once had of "the perfect Christmas."

That and the perfectly decorated tree, surprising and perfect gifts for everyone on my list, and a picturesque Christmas dinner, among other things.

I was looking through old Christmas posts a while ago when I came across this one I wrote five years ago. At that point in my life I was captivated by the thought of a perfect Christmas. With the proper decorations, treats, and gifts the spirit of Christmas would fill our homes and enter our hearts. It would be magical.

I've pondered what has changed that attitude in me over the years.

I'm certainly more on top of my life than I was in those early days of motherhood-- more diligence and planning ahead seems to create a more consistent Christmas experience. That consistency alone allows contentment to reign where a longing for a 'perfect Christmas' once captivated me.

Life experience also allows you to let go of the unrealistic-- I've had a wild toddler before, I have a wild toddler now. I know I won't have the perfect Christmas tree. But, as experience has shown me, phases end, and someday, most likely, I will be decorating my tree just how I want it.

I've also seen that "picture-perfect" is but a moment, and what we can really cultivate is behind it, not the things in the picture. The sights and sounds of the season can do wonders to point us to Christ and act as symbols of worship and love, but traditions alone are not "the magic of Christmas." As I scrolled through pictures of people I love on social media tonight, my friends and their happy families around Christmas trees, I was struck with gratitude. What all the traditions and gifts really mean is that we have families who love us. That love is what makes Christmas special.

And lastly I've grown a deep yearning for a different kind of spirit at Christmas. One not for magic-- but for service. I've seen how the spirit of this season is unique, and can be harnessed for great works, with tender hearts and unfulfilled needs in many that we encounter. Letting Christ's perfect love fill our hearts is more potent than any magic we can conjure up with ribbons and bows.

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