Wednesday, December 19, 2012

My Crooked Christmas Tree

Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.  Lamentations 3:23 NLT
Every Christmas there is this battle that rages inside of me, as there may be with many of you other mothers.  I always wish to make Christmas this magical experience for my family.  I dream of Christmas carols playing in the background, cookies baking, candles glowing and our whole family decorating the Christmas tree together.  I have never myself experienced such a magical experience so I don’t know why I think I have to create this for my family every year.  In reality it never happens!  The cookies are burning, the TV is blaring instead of Christmas carols and everyone is usually fighting about what ornaments go where.  Not the perfection I have imagined many times.   

A couple of weeks ago we got the Christmas decorations out of the attic and put up our Christmas tree and other decorations around the house. As I unpacked the boxes of decorations and ornaments I realized that I only had a few pieces left of the ceramic nativity set my parents had given me years ago.  They were very big pieces requiring a special place to set up the nativity scene. Over the years packing and unpacking, several of the pieces had gotten broken and I finally decided to throw them away.  I kept any good pieces thinking I can at least have a Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus and a wise man or shepherd.  I do have a few pieces left but not much. 

We got the Christmas tree up and decorated and, like every year, the stinking thing is leaning!  For the life of me, I cannot get my tree to stand up straight in the stand.  I tried to fix it but still it leans.  I decided that it is fine as long as it doesn’t fall over! 

Thinking about my crooked Christmas tree I actually got tickled because no other Christmas tree would really fit me better!  My crooked Christmas tree fits into my crooked life.  Although I believe we should always strive to do our best, I believe that perfection is highly overrated and that it is the imperfections in life that provide character.  I saw a Harlequin Great Dane one time that was a beautiful dog with one blue eye and one gray. Imperfection, but absolutely gorgeous, and God almighty, who is perfect, made him that way.

I am so thankful this Christmas for the ultimate gift that God gave us in Jesus.  He is the ultimate gift, bearing gifts.  That little baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes in a manger brought hope, love, peace, forgiveness, kindness and my favorite – MERCY.

This year when I look at my crooked Christmas tree and my broken and pieced together Nativity set I will not flinch, thinking of how imperfect Christmas is turning out to be.  I will smile at the reflection of my own personal imperfection in my poor leaning Christmas tree and I will be reminded of the gift of mercy the Savior gives.  The Bible promises that His mercies are new every morning.  I am thankful for that because every day I need to start over with a clean slate.  Thank goodness that we can confess our sins and He will forgive and forget.  We can start over every day.  That’s 365 times a year! Mercy! What a gift.

This year more than ever I am embracing the fact that we are not perfect and a perfect Christmas really happens in your heart.  It is a personal affair, more than a family affair.  You can’t wait for the cookies to be perfect or the children to love one another.  There will always be something that can steal the joy and true meaning of Christmas from you and the true meaning of Christmas is different for everyone.  One thing does remain the same for all.  Jesus came as the ultimate gift and He bears gifts.  Pick your favorite one and embrace it this season.   

Scripture to Claim:
Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.  Hebrews 4:16                                                    

(Submitted By Lara Cook)

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