This was my Advent reflection a few years ago. Just wanted to share:
Recently, I was reflecting on the whole Christmas card writing project while admiring how beautiful everyone’s pictures were in the cards that I had already received. I was thinking about how perfect everything looks, but how imperfect life really is. Babies scream in their car seats, mommies loose their patience, school projects consume weekends, houses need to be cleaned and decorated, cars break down, presents need to be bought and wrapped, and kids get sick all while trying to deck the halls and jingle the bells. The Christmas pictures don’t really capture all that.
But, then my mind wandered to the Nativity picture we see. The night always looks serene and quiet and calm. Everything seems perfect. If we look deeper we might see that Mary, even being “full of grace,” really hadn’t wanted her son to be born in a stable with animals eating the hay He was sleeping in. She might also have thought of resting in her ninth month, not riding miles on a donkey. She also probably hoped to wrap her child in clean linens, not rags. I bet Joseph did not envision his poor wife delivering her baby in a stable, either.
To me it might seem imperfect, but I guess that’s where the irony is. That is how God ordained it all. That is how God chose for His Son to enter this world. In simplicity and humility. What seems imperfect to me, was actually the manifestation of perfection. In my life of imperfections, I think God is trying to show me that He takes our simple gifts and makes them perfect. He takes our hard work and effort and transforms them into something beautiful. Being refined in the fire of my family life is what is perfect. In the end, the perfect pictures remind me of the love which, with God’s grace, can be made perfect.