Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Perfection of Christmas!

Last night, the three of us (plus dog) sat in our living room all snuggled under blankets. Snow was falling lightly outside glistening in the moonlight. Inside, our fire blazed, the Christmas tree lights twinkled. We were watching A Charlie Brown Christmas.

A perfect winter wonderland moment.

“Noah, this show was made in 1965. I was only three-years-old.”

“This show is THAT old, Mom?”

Okay, it was almost a perfect moment.

I started thinking about that concept of “perfection” that so many of us strive for this time of year. It would be so sweet to have the perfect party, the perfect calendar, the perfect holiday.

Doesn’t happen. It shouldn’t happen. It won’t happen.

I have declared my independence from having a Martha Stewart Christmas! (See my post on Saturday, November 15th) But that desire for perfection still lurks around my house. Like a fruitcake from an aunt, I can’t digest it and I can’t seem to throw it away.

We hosted a Christmas party on Sunday night with John’s BOB (Band of Brothers) and their families. Wonderful evening. But not perfect. My polka dot carpet (thanks to dear Scooby) made perfection impossible. My attitude? “So what?”

I have purposely and consciously slashed expectations left and right this Christmas in order to have joy and peace reign in my heart. Not greed and or an insane need to attend every social function. I remember a time in my life where I would look at my December calendar and measure my worth and my joy in who I was solely based on how many events I attended. Even when I was able to flip my blond hair back and say casually, oh so casually, “I am so busy. So many parties,” my heart did not experience satisfaction. Only longing that maybe one more party would make my Christmas perfect.

Despite my resolve I still hear that old Robbie whispering, “Look - you don’t have anything going on December 17th!! Call somebody! Fill it up!”

Nope. Not gonna. It won’t make the season perfect. Just make me tired.

So what can make the perfect holiday? In a word, nothing.

I remember clearly the carnage of early Christmas mornings back in Van Horn, Texas. I would tear apart each package and experience a mixture of surprise (presents that Santa had brought the night before) and anti-climatic semi-joy (presents I’d already unwrapped and rewrapped after sneaking peaks in Mama and Daddy's closet. They were not clever hiders.) And then, I’d utter that phrase. A phrase I’m sure ripped a little piece of my mother’s heart out.

“That’s all?”

Yep, Robbie. That’s all.

Now, at age 46 and counting, I understand a little bit more than that bratty girl. God doesn’t want me to be satisfied with Christmas. He doesn’t want me to look at this holiday as THE season that will bring joy like nothing else. If I do then I will start worshipping Christmas. I will put all my eggs into this basket. (Isn’t that a horribly mixed metaphor? :0) )

A wonderful pastor once said, “Enjoy all that God has given you. But get your satisfaction from nothing else but Him.”

Amen, Mike Burns!

So last night, as we turned off the TV and prayed, I thanked God for a wonderful evening in which we could enjoy an old TV show (not THAT old, Noah!) and in which we could enjoy our family and the warmth of our home.

Wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t meant to satisfy me. Christmas isn’t meant to satisfy me.

Perfection will enter my soul ONLY when I see my Creator and Lord face to face.

For now, the satisfaction you and I can experience comes from making God our priority. Invite Him in to sit with you on a cold night and watch Charlie Brown. Invite Him to every party and every shopping trip. Invite Him to clear your calendar and teach you the truth about Christmas.

He will show up. Perfectly.


Megan DiMaria said...

Well said, Robbie. I've learned to take my expectations and responsibilities down a notch during the holiday season. I no longer feel guilty if I don't make 15 dozen Christmas cookies. Besides, I usually eat about 8 dozen by myself anyway. So this year instead of baking I think I'll walk on the treadmill for a while.

Robbie Iobst said...

Megan, I'm with you deary! And you can play with that darlin Bayle instead of fussing over "should dos" at Christmas. :0)

Kay Day said...

Great post. Food for thought. hmmm....that's me, thinking.

Jan Parrish said...

Robbie, I'm so glad you are free on the 17th! We are having a shindig...

Jan Parrish said...

BTW - I don't make Christmas cookies for the same reason Megan doesn't. If I make cookies they go to WAIST.

tonya said...

Oh Robbie, how I love to read your writing. It warms my soul. Really.

Yes, I agree with you, reducing our expectations is soo important during the holidays. Your post was a warm and wonderful reminder. :)

cj marley said...

Now you're tawkin' youngun. :0)

Danica/Dream said...

Very good Robbie! I actually told the kids that there won't be as much this year. I'm just absolutely sick of all the junk of the season.

Ralph said...

Martha who? Here's hoping we can all have a Mary Christmas.
Luke 10:38-10:42