Thoughts from the Pastor

Have yourself a merry perfect Christmas?

“Shout aloud and sing for joy, O royal Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel.”  ~ Isaiah 6: 6

The Sunday after Thanksgiving our family decided to put up our Christmas tree largely due to the constant requests from our boys. They are ready for Christmas and all that comes with it! As we put up the tree and began the process of putting on the many ornaments Kate and I have collected over the years, the boys were determined to put the ornaments on the tree by themselves. I tried to direct traffic as much as possible saying, “perhaps that one would look better up higher” or “don’t put those two so close to one another”, or “that Steelers ornament of Kate’s would look great in the way back of the tree.”

At one point as I told Camden that he put an ornament on a branch that already had an ornament he looked at me and professed, “I know daddy, it’s ok, it doesn’t have to be perfect.” While I still made him move the ornament, I realized he had a point. So much of our Christmas preparation centers around this notion of perfection. We want to buy the perfect presents, have the perfect decorations, perfect meals, perfect family gatherings, etc. I’m reminded of what Charlie Brown faced in the classic Charlie Brown Christmas. While his friends wanted the perfect tree to go along with their perfect Christmas play, Charlie Brown had faith in the less than stunning and only real tree on the lot. Charlie Brown, with some help, eventually saw through all the commercialism and the pursuit of perfection to find the true blessing of Christmas; joy.

As Linus got up and reminded them of the simple gospel message that Christ came out of love for this world, all realized that what makes Christmas special is not the pursuit of perfection but the joy of fellowship, of family, and faith in the promise of God. As we put up our decorations, buy our gifts, prepare our meals, and plan our family gatherings may we put aside this cultural pressure pushing us towards perfection. May we find joy in one another and in the promise that God’s love is with us. Have a perfect merry Christmas!  ~ Pastor Nathan