Today’s Truth

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).

Friend to Friend

As your tree is dragged out of the attic and Amazon boxes arrive on your porch, is it okay if we admit that Christmas is often imperfect?

Maybe like me, you try to be in ten different places at one time, yet no one is happy. A relative tells that story from your childhood that embarrasses you every time. Your child throws a fit as relatives cluck their tongues and shake their head.

Instead of trying to plan the perfect Christmas, what if we made room in our plan for imperfection from the very start?

When Uncle Joe starts talking about politics, we plan to slip into the kitchen for a second helping of pie or to take a walk. When that person is unhappy because we  can’t be everywhere at once, we  plan to remind ourselves we  did the best we could and let them work out those issues on their own rather than bear the burden.

Most of all, we  plan to keep our eyes on the true gift of this season.

In Isaiah 9:6, the prophet foretold of the birth of Jesus.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6 NIV).

Wonderful Counselor.

Mighty God.

Everlasting Father.

Prince of Peace.

The prophet didn’t understand all the details to come, but what he did know is that in a world of imperfection, God’s representation of love would be perfect.

Christmas is not about the perfect family, or the perfect dinner, or the perfect present, or making everyone feel perfectly happy. It’s about Jesus. It’s about the beautiful, grace-filled truth that God loved us so much that He sent His Son that we might be rescued, made whole, and loved.

Christmas is wonderful and Christmas can be hard. As you slip away from Uncle Joe, perhaps that is a perfect time for you and Jesus to share a moment of gratitude. As you sit with your overtired child, maybe it’s also a moment you can show him the Nativity set your grandmother passed down and share the story of Jesus. Maybe the plan is to simply take a deep breath, thanking God for the grace He’s shown you over and over, which allows you to give a little grace to someone else.

And during that imperfect season, as you keep your eyes on the One who is perfect, may Christmas be a little less pressure-packed and a lot more peace-filled.

Let’s Pray

Jesus, Christmas is not about being perfect. If that’s my measuring stick, help me to reassess and reassign those unrealistic expectations. Thank You for the meaning behind this day and this season. You truly are Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. What an amazing gift,
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

How might it change your focus if you allowed for imperfections from the very beginning?

What would  that look like?

  • Maybe that person always says the wrong thing, but they love you like crazy.
  • Perhaps the dressing you prepare is too salty, but the laughter around the table is contagious.
  • Maybe your heart feels frazzled, but your loved one is kind and protective.
  • And when everyone else is a mess, Jesus loves you more than you can imagine.

These are the perfect moments in that imperfect day.

More from the Girlfriends

In Suzie’s book, JoyKeeper: 6 Truths That Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Joy, she invites you to explore key joy stealers and how to exchange them with JoyKeeper truths that change your heart and your faith.

One joy stealer is striving for perfection. Suzie shares how to release those expectations to find the joy in the everyday.

(As an Amazon Associate, Girlfriends in God earns A SMALL COMMISSION from qualifying purchases using this paid link.)

© 2021 by Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

12 Responses to “An Imperfect Christmas”

  1. Johanne says:

    JESUS is the actual Child of Mary! Jesus is our sibling. Yes, JESUS come sit with the rest of us, the children if Mary and tell us the true meaning of your background! The best sut down after a long flawless walk to clarity!

  2. Carol says:

    Suzie, this devotion made me smile.
    So many imperfect Christmases. The one where I was so busy after working 12hr. days… while preparing dinner side dishes ahead of time, the turkey didn’t make it to the oven in time.
    I’m so glad my small gathering understood, and we enjoyed the “Sides” any way!
    After that Christmas meal, I’ve learned to expect the imperfect, messiness of the Holiday.
    Christmas is all about Jesus. I just want to ask God the Father for renewed hope.
    Especially, after these last two years; I want a refreshed heart so I can be a better version of being a disciple of Jesus.
    Merry Christmas and blessings to you in the in-coming New Year.

  3. Tiffany says:

    Thanks, Suzie. I’m learning more and more about God through this verse, and the Lord worked through you to have it pop up again. 🙂 I love the examples at the end about accepting the imperfections but also seeing the good and the glory too. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    • Avatar photo Suzie Eller says:

      Tiffany, it’s so odd how sometimes our own words minister to us. I spent Christmas day in the ER because my mother was taken by ambulance to the hospital. It wasn’t what we planned by a long ways, but what a privilege to be with her. She’s home and healing and I’m so grateful for that. Imperfections only reveal the perfection of what is good and beautiful and lasting. <3

  4. Mari says:

    I cannot call the next few days “imperfect”, but I have struggled with them not looking like I am used to. For all of my life, I have been surrounded by family on this special day, but because of a move out of state, the last two years it has been just me and my husband. As I was looking at the Christmas tree a few weeks ago, with all of its beautiful lights, I felt a stab of pain of not having family around. But Jesus stepped into that pain, and gently reminded me to not look at what I do not have, but the beautiful gift of salvation that I do have because of Him. Simple, but it has given me something to focus on the last few weeks when I want to have a pity party. Merry Christmas everyone. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who share their stories on this forum.

    • Avatar photo Suzie Eller says:

      That is hard and yet your view of this is so beautiful. Lord, wrap around Mari in this season. Fill those gaps where family used to reside in the holidays. Fill her to overflowing, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

  5. Dennia says:

    Whew! Why is it that each year the time interval between Thanksgiving and Christmas gets shorter and shorter? I feel squeezed in a vise if I’m not careful, if I don’t stop; take a deep breath, and remember what Johanne so wisely shares here.

    It’s all about Jesus. Every day is. Holiday time should really be no different. Of course it’s more hectic, more things to do and more people to see, but still…we can be still and listen: A baby is crying from a manger and a mother’s voice is softly comforting him; a voice is calling in the wilderness: Prepare the way of the Lord; a man so gentle and kind is speaking to a crowd from a boat in the Sea of Galilee about the love and mercy of God; One who calls himself a shepherd calls to us, his lambs, with a voice so tender we often weep with gratitude. Oh, but we can hear also shouts from angry mobs demanding this innocent man’s cruel execution, yet we remember he died willingly for each one of us, and then we hear him speak one word on the brightest morning that ever dawned: “Mary” and with her, joy beyond all other joys floods our hearts as we realize he is alive forever and that we can join him in his eternal presence. And we hear him, even now, in our hearts, reassuring us that we are his and he is giving us his peace that passes all understanding even during this time that might otherwise threaten to overwhelm us with its demands.

    Christ was born to Mary and Christ is borne in our hearts every day we live because we have chosen to follow him. Dare we say, dare we claim that the joy that so many seek at this time of year may be ours through all 365 days of the coming year? When we stop to listen, we know the answer is a grateful and confident, yes!


  6. Dennia says:

    Correction: I apologize to both Johanne and Suzie as I mentioned Johanne when I should have said Suzie.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8