Somehow it always seems like the imperfections in life are more pronounced at this time of year. They're always there, but we notice them more at Christ,as. At least, I do.
Finding the perfect Christmas tree.
Decorating it perfectly.
Selecting the perfect outfit to wear to the Christmas party.
Choosing the perfect family picture to put with the Christmas letter that talks about all the highlights, the perfect moments, of the last year, but often ignore the other stuff.
Buying the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
Preparing the perfect meal for all around the table.
It can get exhausting.
Yet, in the midst of our search for "perfect" our longings never seem to be satisfied. Something is still missing. And, maybe at this time of year, those unmet longings never seem to be satisfied. So, we increase our pursuit of perfect, in hopes of finally finding satisfaction, only to find we never achieve it.
What if those longings we're so desperately looking to satisfy weren't meant to be met in anything on earth?
What if, instead of increasing the desperation of our search for perfect, they were meant to point us toward something other?
What if they were meant to cause us to lift our eyes?
When I take a moment to read it again, it quickly becomes clear that the original Christmas story was anything but perfect from an earthly perspective:
- Mary was not married when she became pregnant.
- Joseph was asked to believe the impossible and still become Mary's husband, even with the scandal.
- Joseph and Mary had to make a long journey when the time of Jesus' birth was near - not a comfortable time to travel.
- There was no room for them to stay in, so Jesus was born in a stable.
- The first visitors they received were shepherds - the lowest in society.
- When King Herod found out about his birth, they had to flee to Egypt.
The story of the birth of the long-awaited Messiah was imperfect. Nothing about it was as expected.
But Mary's response to this struck me this year. She didn't caught up in trying to find perfect.
Luke 2:19 says, "But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart." In the midst of the imperfect, Mary saw the treasures and held onto them. In Luke 1:46-55, Mary turned her eyes from the imperfect and worshiped God. She lifted her eyes from the imperfect around her, to the only perfect One.
How do you respond in the imperfect? In the midst of unmet longings?
It can be tempting to desperately search for perfect satisfaction on earth. Especially in a season where perfect seems to be the focus.
What would it look like if we instead allowed the imperfect to turn our eyes to Jesus and find the satisfaction we're looking for in Him - the only place it can truly be found?
"Allow life's imperfections to become what they were always meant to be - everyday signs the point you to Jesus. Use them as cues that can encouraeg you to look up from the annoyances of earthly life and see Him. The only One who truly satisfies." (Priscilla Shirer)