Abbie was literally the first Central Bible College Student I met. I had made the decision to abandon my free ride to a university where my dad worked and move to Missouri to attend a school for ministry. The college had a singing team who happened to be passing through my town the summer before I made the move. I was so excited and overflowing with questions! Fortunately, bubbly, sweet Abbie was the first person I ran into and she was patient and gracious and more than willing to answer every question I had. She added me on Facebook and assured me she would talk me through the whole thing. And she did…by the end of my first year, we were roommates and she had overhauled my wardrobe and tried every shade of Sephora eye shadow and lip gloss out on me. She most certainly made me feel at home there and I carry her close to my heart always. It is my joy and honor to have her posting on The Pearl Press today!
It’s here! It’s finally here!!!
If you know me at all, you know just how much I absolutely adore the holiday season. The days leading up to Christmas are quite literally the most wonderful, magical time of the year for me. Even the most ordinary moments seem to sparkle just a little brighter at Christmas. I know, I’m probably starting to sound a bit like a Hallmark card… but truly, I enjoy everything from decking the halls of my cozy little condo, to obsessing over the absolute perfect gift for my loved ones, and even wrapping all those lovely gifts and staging them perfectly to insure lots of likes on my Instagram snapshot.
Maybe you’ve started to figure this out already, but around this time of year, I have a severe problem with trying to be the best combination of Martha Stewart, Rachel Ray, and the Pioneer Woman imaginable. I literally want everything to be perfect. The perfectly decorated, Pinterest-perfect Christmas tree. The perfectly hearty, flavorful meal to serve to my family for Christmas dinner. The shockingly perfect gift that I picked especially for my husband, that’s even more perfect than he could have even picked for himself. Really, if I’m being honest, I’d like my holiday to look like it came straight out of the most recent glossy Crate & Barrel catalogue.
Fortunately, for my own (and my husband’s) sanity, this is just not reality. This would be forcing myself to attain a level of perfection that just cannot be reached. And sadly, when I get lost in this materialistic world of competition and covetousness, I’m gravely missing the point. The “reason for the season,” if you will.
I’m certain we’ve all seen the bumper stickers, the greeting cards, and even the picture frames that all don these lovely sentiments of holiday wisdom: “Jesus is the Reason for the Season,” and, “Wise men still seek him.” Little nuggets of truth that seem just too cheesy and cliché to take literally.
But when was the last time I really took the meaning of those words to heart? Have I become so calloused and self-absorbed in my own minute world of glitter and gift giving, that I’ve ignored the true purpose and necessity for Christmas?
You see, it was for a not so shiny and perfectly polished reason that the first Christmas ever even transpired. If you’d take a minute with me and jog your memory outside of Target’s toy aisle, we might be able to remember that Jesus was born in a barn full of smelly barnyard animals for a purpose so much greater than we could ever imagine. You see, He came just so that he could grow up and live a perfectly sinless life, in order to pay the extreme penalty of my sin, your sin, and the sin of the whole world: death on a cross.
Perhaps I’m treading outside of the Christmas holiday and venturing into Easter’s…but hang with me. We celebrate Jesus coming to this earth, being born in a disgusting feeding trough for cows, so that he could eventually die. His death and resurrection 3 days later brought us life – life more abundantly! It paid the price of our willful disobedience and brought us into a right relationship with the King of kings! Has a better gift ever been given? I will never be able to wrap my brain around the love that God the Father has for us, to give us His only son to be the Savior of the whole world on that first Christmas.
When I take a moment to reassess the true intent of this day, I am humbled and in awe. I feel a bit sorrowful for falling into the rut of commercialism and comparison, disillusioned by my struggle to achieve perfection. I cringe a little just thinking about my ignorance and self-centeredness. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not going to throw the holiday aside simply because I’ve mismanaged my priorities in the past! Yes, I will still try and find my husband just the right gift. And I’ll still scour blogs looking to find the best cheesecake to make for Christmas dinner. But this year, I will do my utmost best to refocus my heart on the very best and the one truly perfect gift I’ve ever received: my relationship with Jesus. And this year, I will strive to share this wonderfully perfect gift with everyone I can.
Will you join me in this?
Will you join me in choosing to rediscover this incredible gift and to re-gift it to every person we come in contact with through our words and deeds?
I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the birth of our Deliverer, our Healer, the Author and Perfecter of our Faith, than by sharing Him with anyone and everyone we can.
Catch up on the story of Jesus here.
Catch the full series "Stories," looking at different character perspectives within the Christmas story here.