We all have that friend who tells us with glee sometime in August, when the summer sun is still shining, exactly how many Sundays it is until Christmas. Or that person, my father in law in my case, who rings me on the first of December to let me know the tree is up and he’s sipping sherry and eating mince pies. Some people revel in all the things that Christmas brings and although It’s an occupational hazard that such forecasts of impending Christmasyness generally raise in me utter panic, I am firmly in the big kid camp when it comes to Christmas.
Yet for so many, the pressure of buying and readying themselves and their homes brings not joy but exhaustion and despair. So it’s good to remind ourselves from time to time that there is no such thing as a perfect Christmas, at least not outside of the adverts that fill our TV screens in the months leading up to the big day. The very reason that we need Christmas is because we are far from perfect. God comes in the midst of the mess. He doesn’t need a beautiful home, a laden table or piles of presents. He just needs us in all our messiness.
I love to make things and at least once in every project I remind myself of the Muslim weavers who deliberately work a tiny flaw into each of their works of art because they believe that only God can be perfect. My mistakes tend to be less carefully planned but my message is just the same. When Advent comes enjoy whatever preparations you make and relax; God knows you’re not perfect but he loves you anyway.
So with my Christmas thoughts penned long before Advent, I leave you with a Winter Blessing:
May you find rest in the busyness,
Stillness in the storm
And light in the darkness
With love and prayers