I am a recovering perfectionist. There was a time when I would agonize over every word of every sermon since I am a manuscript preacher. I would aim to have my sermon written by Thursday (well, that I still do!) and would spend time in the sanctuary in the pulpit rehearsing at least twice before I would preach that particular sermon. Now, if I have a coherent sermon to preach when Sunday morning rolls around . . . that’s a win! It’s not necessarily laziness, well, I don’t think so anyway. Mostly it’s been the dawning realization that perfect is the enemy of good. Sometimes saying “that’s good enough” can be quite liberating. Moreover, I’m just not sure that the distressing writing experience actually made those sermons any better to begin with.
For those of us who are perfectionists, or have a few of those tendencies, we can be in complete and utter agony over the little things. Or God forbid something actually go wrong. The pressure that we put on ourselves to be perfect can make an experience hard to even enjoy. Add in holiday celebrations during a global pandemic to the mix, and yikes! I would venture to guess that the perfectionists in all of our lives are *not* okay right now.
So, here’s my Christmas wish for all of us . . . I pray that we are at peace with a perfectly imperfect Christmas. I hope we remember that Jesus was not born into a perfect world under perfect circumstances. Yet, God uses perfectly imperfect people all the time to be the hands and feet of Christ. If the Christmas dinner gets a little burnt, that’s alright. If you forgot to get a gift for someone, it’s going to be okay—sometimes there’s great sales after Christmas anyway. If your plans have needed to change for the umpteenth time because that’s the complex world we are living in, remember that God can show up in the most unlikely of places. God will be with us as we celebrate the birth of Christ in the days ahead, no matter how that looks this year.
Thursday Thoughts 12/23/21