So we are finally down to two of the biggest days of the year, Christmas and Christmas Eve.
But with Big Days come Big Expectations.
Expectations that often can not be met.
I’ve been noticing this month more and more how my melancholy and struggle with the Christmas season is not actually rooted in a dislike of Christmas. In fact it comes from my deep love of Christmas and all that it stands for. A love so deep that nothing could possibly ever live up to my ideal of how to celebrate it.
I am not satisfied with the lovely hour of caroling at the neighboring nursing home. I want our musical family to come up with an hour long act to perform at nursing homes across the mid state area. The Hobbs family singers. In my mind we bring outrageous joy and cheer to the countless sad folks who need it so badly.
A nice idea. Sure. Realistic? No way.
Even my less grandiose dreams are hard to pull off. I see all these Pinterest perfect pictures of friends’ houses scrolling across my facebook feed. My own house is a mix match of handmade and passed down ornaments and decor that don’t always speak the same language. On good days I describe it as quirky, but secretly I worry I just don’t measure up.
So I find myself turning into my favorite Christmas character. No, not Mary or Elizabeth or even the ever spiritual Linus. Come mid December I morph into the lovable but crazy Clark Griswold.
Yes, Clark too loves Christmas and wants desperately to create the perfect family Christmas for everyone to enjoy. Complete with light display, big family dinner, and a show stopping present that will bring joy and delight to everyone on Christmas morning.
Undoubtedly Clark’s heart is in the right place, but he is asking too much. Nothing will ever be that picture perfect. The tree will be wonky, the in-laws will fight, and weird relatives will crash your party and dump toxic waste down your storm drain.
But Clark learns. He learns to roll with the imperfections.
When you get locked in the attic while your family is out shopping, just put on some old clothes and enjoy those old family movies.
And when Aunt Bethany says the pledge of allegiance instead of a blessing of the big family dinner, just stand up put your hand over your heart and join in.
For Christmas was never really about perfection anyway.
In fact, it is about our imperfection. The imperfection that draws us to the God who came to be with us and lead our wonky, quirky selves into joy and light.
So this year when the turkey turns out bone dry and the cat burns the tree down, just roll with it. Embrace all the imperfection. For it is not so bad after all.
After all, you may not always remember the picture perfect Christmas, but no one will forget the night they stood on the lawn and sang the national anthem after Uncle Louis’s cigar set off an explosion that sent the plastic Santa and all his reindeer flying through the sky.
So, Merry Early Christmas Everyone!
May you find joy in the unexpected and even the imperfect. For often that is the best place for it to be found.