Tinsel, glittering trees, sparkling lights, wreaths, and decorations in their place. Nativity displayed. Cards addressed and mailed. Candles lit. Table set. Ham glazed. Cookies baked, candies molded, nut bowls filled. Cocoa simmering, presents wrapped, ribboned, and bowed, and a family dressed to the nines. What a perfect Christmas!

Oh, how I wish this were me. I did better with Christmas when I was younger, probably because I started in September. Lately, though, the perfect Christmas seems elusive, and I’d rather escape into Christmas poems, books, and movies. In them, I rarely see the behind the scenes work or the chaos that ensues with my not-so-perfect Christmases. Neither is there the stress, depression, or frustration building during the holidays. Sometimes we’re missing loved ones, sometimes we’re lonely, sometimes it’s disturbing news or a serious diagnosis, and sometimes we’re simply dreading the work of putting up decorations, just to take them down a few weeks later. Add to that a dwindling bank account, and possibly having to wait until a later payday to purchase Christmas presents, leaving very little time for wrapping.

When I think about the “perfect” Christmas and how very short I fall, I want to wallow in self-pity and berate myself because, once again, I missed the mark. But it’s in those moments, God’s still small voice speaks:

“My child,” He says. “The perfect Christmas is something from your youth when you were oblivious to reality. Through the years, this notion gained strength from those poems, books, and movies you love. But it has very little to do with Me or what actually took place on that first and most perfect Christmas ever.
“Remember what My Holy Spirit taught you when you received Jesus as your Savior. Out of our great love and foreknowledge, We designed our plan. It started before time began, and before We laid the foundation of this world.[1]
“Knowing sin would enter and corrupt our perfect creation[2], We planned for the second person of My Triune Godhead to become flesh—quite a feat since God is Spirit and cannot die.[3]
      “We chose Mary, a young virgin from Nazareth, to provide for Him a human body.[4] My Holy Spirit and power came upon her, overshadowed her, and she miraculously conceived. Then, in the course of human gestation—on that perfect Christmas night—Mary gave birth to her Baby boy—Jesus—God in flesh.
“We did this to dwell among you for a time, to identify with your pain, to teach you Truth, and bring light and life into the darkness sin had caused.[5] But our main reason for Jesus, God the Son, becoming flesh was to rescue humanity from sin’s penalty—death.[6]
Jesus, the pure and sinless[7] Baby, born in Bethlehem, grew up, and as planned, died in your place.[8] Like a Lamb led to slaughter, Jesus shed His blood and bore the penalty for your sin on the cross.
“But death could not hold Him. After three days in the grave, Jesus arose from the dead.[9] His disciples saw Him alive, as did many others. Then, forty days after His resurrection, also as planned, He returned bodily to His glory in heaven.[10]
“My child, this is what you celebrate. An infinite God coming down to mankind to save them from death and hell. This perfect Christmas happened when time was at its fullness.[11] It was bold but humble, poverty-stricken but priceless, private, yet for the whole world. Even today, Our plan remains foolishness to those who choose to reject Jesus,[12] but boundless wisdom to those heeding My call.
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.”[13]

I’m humbled, Lord. I did, for a moment, lose sight of your great love and amazing Gift. Thank you for being in control of my life, for changing my attitude, for setting my heart and focus back on Jesus, for driving out depression, anxiety, and self-pity. This truly is a perfect Christmas!

Be blessed, my friends this Christmas, and have a Happy New Year,

[1] I Peter 1:20
[2] Romans 5:12-14
[3] Colossians 1:15-17; Colossians 2:8-9; John 4:24
[4] Isaiah 7:14, Luke 1:26-38
[5] John 1:1-4, 14; Hebrews 4:14-15
[6] John 3:16; Romans 5:8
[7] II Corinthians 5:21
[8] Isaiah 53; John 1:29
[9] Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:27, 31, Matthew 28:1-6
[10] Acts 1:4; 9-11
[11] Galatians 4:4-5
[12] I Corinthians 1:23-25
[13] Revelation 3:20


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