First, some good news - the camel and Joseph did find their way back to the plastic nativity set before Christmas Eve. However, I also discovered a Palm Tree went missing after our evening with the bigger grandchildren. No amount of creative searching seemed to reveal its whereabouts.
The Palm Tree turned up. It was literally turned upside down and stuffed.......in the branches of my Christmas Tree! Ohhh! Life with little boys! I'm learning!
So once again the nativity is complete. Waiting patiently for the excitement we'll share on our Christmas day - January 16th. Everyone will finally be home. Of course, my Christmas shopping is almost over and I'm now wondering if I'll be able to wait for them to open the gifts we've purchased!
Since my last post we've lived a lot of Christmas Joy:
- Hosted a Church Christmas party for 120 complete with a community jazz band.
- Enjoyed our first ever school Christmas play with Spencer. (Directed by Meagan and Kristin)
- Celebrated with a friend whose battle with cancer is succeeding!
- Hosted the staff and church board at our home.
- Helped Meagan and Nathan get on the road to NC. (Realized just as they were leaving that Meagan had not colored my hair! Oh well, too late now!)
- Marked Meagan's birthday long distance.
- Helped get Joy and John on the road to NY.
- Enjoyed a fabulous Christmas Eve service.
- Left for NC at 6 AM Christmas morning. Four lovely days with family.
- Impossibly long drive back home.
- Celebrated 36 years of marriage to my sweetheart just yesterday.
However, finding the palm tree (not sure if it was placed there intentionally or simply lodged there after some little guy launched it) brought a thought to mind.
The Truth of Christmas is this: It's never been about Perfection.
A virgin carried the Christ child? (Please remember that the angel only appeared to Mary and Joseph explaining that this was God's plan. Not to her parents. Not to his parents. Not to the village gossips.) The King of Glory was born in a stinky stable? Shepherds (the lowest of that society) were first to visit him? His first lullabies were accompanied by the bleating of sheep? God Almighty was in the Middle of it all?
That picture is anything BUT perfect!
Yet we know from the hundreds of prophecies fulfilled in that one picture that everything about it was intentional. And for this little grandmother gazing on the brightly colored, plastic creche a truth comes in to focus. I realize that even God's method of sending His son into this world was meant to instruct us.
Life has never been about Perfection!
Life is filled with struggle. Disappointments. Betrayals. Loss. Pain. Some circumstances really stink, just like that stable. But in the middle of all that imperfection we find the quiet peace of knowing God has not left us alone. God Almighty is right in the middle of it all - with us!
Emmanuel, God With Us!
Somehow, accepting this truth - that life is imperfect but He is with us in it, brings Hope! It calms my heart and allows me to breathe in Peace. Suddenly Joy becomes my focus instead of fear or sorrow. I'm free to love; genuinely!
As you mark the dawning of yet another new year, may I encourage you to embrace this truth? Life is not perfect - but a perfect heavenly Father has promised to walk through life with us. He is simply waiting for your invitation.
Make a conscious choice to invite Him on your journey through 2016. I can assure you that the imperfect parts of your life will make a little more sense. And the truly perfect parts of your life will suddenly have an added richness you could never have imagined.
My prayer for you? May you be blessed with the Truth, Joy, and Peace of a Perfectly Imperfect walk this year!