by - December 20, 2011

Maybe it's picture prints by Currier and Ives. Maybe it's my grandmother's melt-in-your-mouth pound cake that was part of the menu every year. I have the recipe for it, but I'll never bake for fear it won't live up to hers. Maybe it's all those rose-colored memories of childhood Christmases past. I don't know.

I don't know where the pressure for a perfect Christmas comes from. But I know it didn't come from the first Christmas, because that one was anything but perfect.

A young virgin and her fiancé birthed the messiah while they were on a trip, a travel nightmare. Stranded, they made due with a ragged manger cushioned by hay from the stable floor while smelly cattle lowed in protest of the disturbance in their otherwise peaceful night.
There was an extra mule in there too, the one that carried their suitcase. And Mary may have had to lean against the mule's side for leverage and steadying. Surely there was a lot of improvising that night.

In fact, the night's events were so far below the standard of perfection that angels had to announced the imperfect birth lest we miss it. The glow the heavenly host cast over an unidentified field of poor shepherds wasn't meant to spotlight our imperfections and, thus, cause us to despair. The angel's tidings were glad. His news was good because we were already imperfect and in despair.

He didn't come to point out the imperfect; He came to perfect us. I fear we have it backwards.
We think we're pretty okay all year, and then, when its time to celebrate Christmas, we can't seem to pull off perfect. We stress and get depressed. If it were the other way around and we saw ourselves as less than perfect, we'd rejoice, just as the angels suggested.

So enjoy this Christmas, whatever it looks like for you this year. You don't have to live up to perfect.
In fact, expect the imperfect, because that's the real reason for the season.

Sharing this post in community with Emily at Imperfect Prose and Jennifer's God-Bumps.
Unwrapping imperfect with Emily at Chatting with the Sky.

You May Also Like


  1. stopping by from Emily' did we get it all twisted?...May your Christmas be filled with rejoicing....blessings

  2. Dawn - how many more times can I tell you how proud I am of you and how gifted you are! You never cease to amaze me with your words and your ability to make sense of a lot of confusion in our lives. You make it sound so simple that we say. "Duh - why didn't we think of that!". Your preception is incredible. Your ability to paint a word picture draws us all in and makes us thirst for more. Thank you!

    And last, but not least, thank you for posting all the wonderful childhood pictures. I can remember you, Jeff and Wayne like it was yesterday. I had so much fun with all of you at this age.........I loved you to pieces then and still do!! Is the 1st picture in Grandpa's basement?

    I love you!

    Auntie Donna
    PS - Make Grandmommie's recipe for melt-in-your-mouth pound cake. Remember - if it does not meausre up, then you can fall back on "nothing is ever perfect". In the meantime, your children will get to sample some of their great-grandmommie's cake!!! Go for it, Honey!! Trust me - it is the right thing to do. ;-)

  3. So good! The perfect post for us all to read right now! Thank you for your refreshing wisdom!

  4. Yes to all of this! Such a great post and a needed reminder.

  5. "He didn't come to point out the imperfect; He came to perfect us."

    This is beautiful. Thank you.

  6. LOVED this. I love the imperfections in my Christmas. I love the hope it gives me for heaven. Perfect peace. :)

  7. Celebrate the imperfect _ I love it! I only attempted one Christmasy activity this entire season, and it was far from perfect... but you have perfectly presented why it is nontheless commemorable, maybe even more so. Love it

  8. loving the thought of imperfection, what a great reason to rejoice and be thankful

  9. So true. I love the quote from The Grinch which said, "And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore." Sometimes we try too hard to figure it all out, and it's right there in front of us.

  10. This reminds me of what I said to my teen son the other day, "We are not gods on this earth, that's why we need the help of THE GOD." That's why your words about embracing our imperfections is so important. We keep forgetting this truth. So thanks for reminding us again, Dawn. Merry Christmas!

  11. can be chaos...but even that can be a beautiful thing....great message here...merry christmas!

  12. amen! such freedom in this post. and i love the photos! merry (imperfect) christmas, friend!

  13. I hope you had a perfectly ... imperfect Christmas. :)

    Ours was definitely imperfect. Most of the family ended up with the flu! But we managed to pack in a lot of fun anyway.

    Glad you shared your old photos here. Delightful.

  14. I love all those beautiful Christmas pic's and children. It all looks "perfect" to me.

  15. You know ...I found a few packages of old tinsel at the Goodwill store ...and I almost bought some! My kids thought I was nuts! I have such great memories of separating the tinsel, oh so carefully, and placing it on the tree.

  16. The old pictures in this post do have some significance. The first one does look perfect. It's the rose-colored memory.

    But that was the year my mom had a nervous breakdown just before Christmas, and Dad and Grandpa spent hours trying to convince her to check herself into the psych unit. Dad brought us to his mother's house. He says it was his worst Christmas ever. His two sisters drove to our house more than an hour away to retrieve our Christmas gifts from the attic. My mom had some, but not all, and what she did have included duplicates. She was very ill. My grandfather and aunt shopped for our chirstmas gifts with six kids (us three and my three cousins) in tow, just before Christmas. It was far from perfect, but we look blissfully ignorant and happy, don't we.

    The second photo was of a bookshelf turned make-shift chimney for Santa, since our house had no fireplace. Mom did that for us one year when she was feeling good. That one is perfect, isn't it.

    The last one seemed imperfect only by the forlorn look on my face and that I was fully dressed early on Christmas morning, two early indicators that I would never do chaos very well.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.