Like this retro photo, there's something just a little off about my Christmas this year. This photo must have been an outtake! And that's the way I feel about this year. It's been the holidays of imperfection. I haven't felt festive. I've been sick. My husband has been sick. I've been stressed out. And stuck with needles way too many times. My Christmas decor is sparse. I made no handmade presents. My cooking is minimalistic - I've been researching restaurants open on Christmas eve to save me from cooking one last meal. My house is dirtier than I'd like. And me with my Martha Stewartesque expectations feels rather embarrassed about the general lack of resplendence.
And then I realized... Jesus was born in a manger, in a stable, surrounded by a motley crew of farm animals. If Mary was anything like me I'm sure that's not what she had in mind. But life comes as it comes. And life, the celebration of life, is not about perfection, control, or outward appearance - it is about the sheer joy of being alive, loving those that we share life with, and finding appreciation for whatever surrounds us that we can be grateful for.
Merry Christmas, y'all! May you celebrate imperfection and find joy in the middle of the messiness of life.