The invitations were mailed. The “Snoopy” themed decorations were up. The table was set for 14 guests and the excitement was building. Today was the day! My 10th birthday party was about to take place.
My mom and sisters went all out to make this milestone (first double digit birthday) a day to remember. 47 years later, I still have a smile on my face and carry the heartwarming affections of the gift my family gave me … my very first ‘friends’ birthday party.
This memory comes to mind as we journey through this beautiful Advent Season. What a glorious and exciting time to prepare for an even bigger birthday party – celebrating the Lord’s birth in a small stable in Bethlehem.
Is the anticipation we experience for this Birth Day celebration building in our hearts and minds as we prepare for Christmas or has the Advent season of anticipation been replaced by the busyness and distractions of Christmas preparations?
A Never-Ending Christmas Task List
I must admit that for many years I spent more time preparing for the worldly Christmas without giving much thought to our faith-based Christmas. So…
- Shopping consumed me.
- Baking exhausted me.
- Parties filled my weekends.
- Santa visits frustrated me.
- Christmas decorating challenged me.
For years I faced my perfectionist fiend – Christmas had to be perfect and nothing was going to get in the way of that!
Christmas expectations can often overwhelm us
As the wife and mother of the family (and home) I saw it my duty to make sure that Christmas was a perfect time of celebration for my son, husband, and extended family. One year the Lord gave me a rude awakening when a month before Christmas my world crashed.
I was so spent in trying to please everyone else (my own expectations and not others’) that I became very sick.
The flu bug hit me hard, so I was laid up in bed for a week and had no strength to do anything. No baking. A little shopping. Some decorating. And no annual Santa Claus visit. My perfectionist heart was broken. I apologized profusely to my husband and son for not giving them the Christmas they (actually I) always dreamed of.
That Christmas was one for the records. Not because it was a great Christmas (according to the world’s standards) but because during my recovery time I was forced to reflect deeply about what I was trying to do and who I was trying to do this ‘perfect Christmas’ for.
The truth revealed itself and I could see the sin of pride staring at me.
Ugh. I also realized that my heart was not ready to welcome the infant Child Jesus. How could I receive Jesus when I ignored Him so blatantly for the last four weeks!
Remembering the True Meaning of Christmas
God is good. So very, very good. Through His incredible gift of mercy and love He welcomes us into His Christmas celebration without judgement.
He receives our brokenness, our wounds, our disappointments, and our imperfections. When we remember that Jesus came to earth through the gift of a young woman’s womb, He teaches us the gift of surrender and vulnerability.
He teaches us the beauty of the Advent and Christmas seasons can be found in humble beginnings. A stable, a young virgin, a humbled man, oxen, sheep, shepherd boys, and a brilliant shining star in the heavens above.
I finally found my perfect Christmas – to be ever so present to Him on Christmas Day and every day after.
How are you preparing for the arrival of the Lord’s Birth Day? Will you abandon your idea of perfection to find the Perfection found in the Infant Jesus?
What new advent traditions can you bring into your life and family that will help all those you love around you to prepare for this landmark birthday celebration?