This Advent season has taught me plenty about the beauty of God’s grace. When I strive for perfection, I inevitably fall short. But that doesn’t mean that my erred, misshapen, miscalculated life can’t be beautiful in its own way. It’s all about perspective.
Like the Christmas cut-outs the kids and I attempted last Friday. It was a “first” for us and I admit to being a novice baker. I don’t even own a rolling pin (FYI: Camelbak water bottles suffice in a pinch.) Our product was less than stellar and the process getting there was rather harried, squeezed in before dinner. It was even tumultuous at times–picture 3 of 4 children crying–the baby because she was hungry and two others as they fought over the chair nearest the cookie dough. Then the cut-outs stuck to the table (not enough flour) and we were forced to start over, our project taking a nosedive. We persevered, however, and ended up sitting around the oven laughing as we watched the cookies run together on the pan while baking. I had my own chortle later as I cleaned up, musing at my motherly miscalculations and clear miss at perfection. The cookies’ odd angles and blurry edges were imperfect, but the beauty of our togetherness and the pride among us at accomplishing this feat, very evident.You can chalk our Christmas tree up to “imperfection” status. I walked in to see the gorgeous fir in our corner, thanks to the Cost.co labors of my husband. Upon walking toward the fireplace, however, something was missing. It was the lower left part of the tree! He had cleverly hidden it toward the back, but the vacancy was not to be missed. “Next time I’m unwrapping it to make sure this doesn’t happen again!” was his response. It’s not perfect, but never before have we had a tree so tall and high-reaching in our high-ceiling living room. It looks gorgeous now adorned with ornaments and the kids can see no imperfection. It represents a beautiful holiday we will share together, times of dancing and decorating, unveiling and celebration. It is imperfect and absolutely beautiful.
Beyond all this, Advent has taught me about loss and sacrifice juxtaposed to a bountiful time of year. I am humbled watching families grieve and endure. They are struggling and aching and I am feeling their grief from afar. It is as imperfect as life gets. The pain is acute. Yet Christ is present and I am in awe watching these families in crisis cling to our Lord. Talk about beauty. Raw beauty.
He is the Source of all things beautiful, for all of us who are anything but perfect. Thanks be to God.