Which means we have entered the season where I have somehow successfully moved a 50 pound Christmas tree across town and into my house, jigsawed employee Holiday schedules, found a new Advent Wreath for The Hearth, and made it to two friends’ Christmas concerts in a week. It is also the season where I completely forget things, like sending the Church Newsletter, and realize it 6 hours after it was supposed to go out while at the Chiropractor. There is nothing like the feeling of failure when your body reminds you with a crack that you can’t even seem to keep your joints in alignment let alone your Holiday schedule.
Does anyone else think it’s a good idea to pile on way too much during the Holidays the same way we think it’s a good idea to pile on food to our Thanksgiving plates? Our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and our schedules are longer than our days. Yet we insist on beating ourselves up about the things that go unfinished on our impossibly long to-do lists. How did we get here when this Season began as an invitation to quiet preparation for the arrival of our Lord? You know, the same Lord who loves us even when we’re the last one to pick up our child at daycare because we underestimated seasonal traffic or we miss an end-of-year report deadline or we forgot an ingredient to make grandma’s Christmas cookies or we don’t get the Church Newsletter out exactly at noon on Friday.
This season, I am inviting us into a season of Grace. I am inviting us to remember that Jesus chose to be born into a world full of imperfect people who made lots of mistakes. Jesus’ own parents, who He chose to be His parents when He could have chosen literally anyone, LOST Him for FOUR DAYS (Luke 2:41-46). Jesus chose friends who had questionable pasts, like Mary Magdalene, or who denied Him when He needed a friend the most, like Peter. Jesus loved Thomas, who doubted His most important miracle and Judas, who betrayed Him. This season, we are going to make mistakes, forget things, hurt someone’s feelings, and miss something important. This is what it is to be human, divinely created and loved even when we don’t feel worthy of either.
This season, extend grace to others because we are all in this together. When everything goes wrong, when we are royally not our best selves, when someone cuts us off on the highway, when we kind of hate this time of year, remember that you are loved. Remember that you are held. Remember that our God chose to become one of us imperfect beings and die at our hands because He is lavishly, unreservedly, desperately in love with us just as we imperfectly are. And He is so proud to call us His own.