It's Christmas Eve and many of us are in a flurry of activity, trying to finish all of the last-minute things that need to be done to create that perfect Christmas morning.
The tree is trimmed, cookies are baking, turkeys are thawing. We're still wrapping those last few gifts. The past weeks have been a blur of Christmas card writing and shopping. It's a wonderful time of year, but stress levels are very high. We tear out our hair when things go wrong...and they always do. Gifts don't arrive on time. Flights get postponed. Family gets snowed in. You run out of tape. The turkey burns. In my own home, the Christmas cards just got mailed yesterday. We decorated the tree this morning. There was a great deal of bickering between me and my husband. And I just finished wrapping the last gift at 9:45 PM. Hardly a perfect Normal Rockwell Christmas.
My pastor gave a thought-provoking sermon this past week, reminding all of us that the first Christmas was anything but perfect. Jesus's mother was an unwed young girl, considered an adulterer for having a baby before the wedding. No one would take in Jesus's parents and Mary gave birth in a barn of all places. She was far from home and family. But my pastor reminded us that Christmas is for the imperfect. That first imperfect Christmas brought a perfect gift into the world.
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It reminded me of all of us survivors. We are an imperfect lot. Some of us shake in the presence of any man. Others cannot leave their homes. Some cry for "no reason" at inopportune moments. Some are terrified because they must spend Christmas with their abusers. Many have lasting issues that impact their marriages. Some of us are in constant physical pain. Others are in constant mental pain. Some appear fine on the surface, but have fears that run deeper than anyone can know. We blame ourselves for things far beyond our control. We feel shame for things not of our making. We are strong, but we do not realize our strength. We are imperfect. But tonight reminds us that God came for us. We are the ones He came to save. He makes us perfect.
I hope you all have a blessed Christmas. Take a deep breath, and forget about the stress of the season. Christmas is for the imperfect. The gift of Christmas is for us.
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