Before anything else goes up, this first. Always.
This old nativity set is well worn, but it is my treasure. My parents gave it to me one Christmas when I was newly married. Since then, it has been through a lot, including moves and family room football casualties. The wise man's head is glued in place. Some pieces are gone now, broken beyond repair. Others are cracked, imperfect just like us. But it has history and it is real, just like us. I love all it represents.
As I was carefully putting Mary and Joseph in place, Hubs asked me if I wanted a new nativity set, one that's complete and whole, shiny and bright.
No, I replied. This one is perfect. This one is what Jesus was all about: Love and redemption in the cracks and brokenness and imperfection.
This is where I am after a half-century of Christmases: I'm not worried about the cookies and decorating and stress ball that we have layered on this season with a to-do list that just won't quit. If I get that stuff done, great. If not, I pare down. There's only one thing we who celebrate the true Christmas need: Seeing redemption in the midst of imperfection. It's knowing that the Baby, who came in the most imperfect of worldly circumstances, changed everything and that this celebration is about divine Love in the midst of our flawed and broken humanity. It's coming together, gathering around, cracks and chips and imperfections all.
So pause. Sit in the midst of Jesus. Bask in His great Love. He is beauty in the worn, weary and broken at Christmas and always. This is where my thoughts are now. With Him. This is where I hope they remain. This is where peace and love and joy live even in our imperfect world.
Wishing you love and peace, Underdogs!