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Promises, expectations and Christmas perfection

Today’s reading Jeremiah 33:14-16


It’s all about promises kept.

Promises that took a long time to fulfill. But eventually kept.

I listened to the Doc McStuffins Christmas special as I made dinner this week. Girls curled up in front of the TV, totally happy to be listening to a conversation between the beloved girl who plays doctor to her stuffed animals and Santa Claus.

Santa told her what a good job she did taking care of her toys. How he was happy she cared for them when he was at the North Pole. I chopped potatoes and approved of the lesson I was overhearing. We are to take the responsibility of caring for each other seriously. I got lost in my thoughts about cartoons and lessons until Santa said something that pulled me back, “I make sure Christmas morning is perfect for every girl and boy.”

Hmm. Perfection? Is that the promise my girls are buying into? Is that what they think Christmas is for? That moment of joy of running into the living room to find that perfect gift? My cynical self took over at that point. Really, Santa? It asked. Then what? What happens when that moment is over? What do you promise then?

How about the promises I hear? That if I make Christmas happen, with the right gifts, food, clothes, table decorations, traditions, my family will experience the “perfect Christmas morning”?

About this time every year I start to break into a sweat because I’m worried that I am not offering my family enough in these areas. That somehow their Christmas experience will be less than because I didn’t make the Nestle Toll House bars or buy the tablet they were looking for.

It is so easy, this trap.

Even in all of my intentionality. Of considering what gifts, and how many gifts, and fairness of number and cost, I start to think it is not enough.

But wait! Today is when I put the brakes on once again and remind myself the perfect gift was given. That baby was the gift. His very self was what he gave. The gifts that the wise men brought, were merely symbols of appreciation. Jesus was the gift.

Jesus is the gift.

I can’t compete with that as the maker-of-Christmas at my house because I’m not intended to. I can’t compete with total and complete perfection.

We don’t need to run into the living room on Christmas morning to see if we got what we asked for. We’ve already peeked and know that we are receiving the BEST GIFT EVER.

That takes some pressure off of me today.

Whew. Exhale. I’m getting what I wanted. Freedom through that tiny baby.

He promised me and he followed through.

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