I nearly ran out of time to write this post in the Christmas rush to get things right, but if we can’t make time to count our blessings at Christmas…trouble is we want things to be ‘perfect’ at this time of year and nothing ever is. Doesn’t mean it can’t be perfectly wonderful.
Case in point – all precipitation is not created equal. We really wanted a White Christmas last year. Of course we did. Living in the northern hemisphere in a cold place for the very first time, it’s the stuff of classic movies and Christmas fantasies that carry on from childhood to last a lifetime. It rained (which was pretty much the norm for us in Canada). In fact most of Canada missed out on a White Christmas for the first time in something like 50 years – go figure.
We had a wonderful Christmas last year but it wasn’t perfect – no snow, and no family (we did have wonderful friends). It was a Christmas that broke with most of our past traditions, yet it created new ones (including a wonderful turkey which we’d brined and prepared and cooked to ‘perfection’).
People in our privileged world stress about getting Christmas perfect. There are TV programs and magazines filled with things you should bake, decorative elements you should make, perfect examples of tables adorned for perfect Christmas feasts where surely there could be no fighting or tension at the table.
Yet the reality is never quite so.
Sometimes it is far from perfect, as we reflect on the grief the poor families in Newtown have been ‘gifted’ this year after the horrible shooting tragedy. It will be far from perfect for thousands of parents who lose their children to war, poverty and disease the world over, for people who struggle to survive on a daily basis.
I’m conscious of a baby Jesus, as the biblical story goes, being born in a manger, amidst the stable animals. This was his birthday, the very first Christmas, yet his surroundings were hardly ‘perfect’. I think of our children who didn’t have the easiest start in life either, both coming into an orphanage in China at just a few days old. Born in less than ideal circumstances, just like Jesus.
I’m a sop at any time of year – give me a festive season and I’m a sucker for Christmas movies and all the saccharine sentiments of peace and goodwill towards men, but the truth is so much schmaltz will never make things ‘perfect’ in my own fortunate life, let alone the world.
But when we give up on things being perfect, we find the wonderful. In small things and in large – in the spirit of Christmas.
Watch the classis ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ and re-learn that lesson. Watch my Christmas Tree Meditation video and stop and relax for a moment amidst the rush. It’s my gift to you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAAdRH_rV7s
Or listen to Christmas carols or Guy Sebastian’s new song ‘Get Along’ – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3-nd1nQgOr8. Wonderful.
Whatever you do, forget the perfect and open your eyes to the wonder.
Have a happy and safe festive season and thanks for all your support these past four months.