Notes from the church lady: ‘Imperfect Christmas’ may be good way to have holiday

Picture your favorite Currier and Ives or Norman Rockwell print of the Christmas season.

Perhaps you think of a horse-drawn sleigh in a beautiful country. Maybe a print of a loving family on Christmas morning around the tree watching one person unwrap the gift they wished for all year. You can almost hear a child thanking their parents for their sacrifice.

Now, take time to think about your favorite Christmas movies. While the main character might face some kind of adversity during the middle of the movie, everything always works out the way you expect the ending. The movie leaves you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside (sigh).

On this first day of December as I write this I am not going to focus on any of these things. Instead, I want to share something a pastor said to his congregation.

I don’t know who he is as the story appeared in a newsletter I receive online. The newsletter is written for all of us who easily get sidetracked despite our good intentions. Anyway, one reader said her pastor wished the congregation “an imperfect Christmas” this year.

Wait a minute…isn’t the goal of Christmas for everything perfect from the purchase of every perfect gift to the perfect Christmas meal to the perfect, loving family? Do you mean despite our goals every year for that perfect holiday we should give up trying? Why not?

Great expectations is more than a book title. It is how so many sources encourage us to start our Christmas preparations in July. In fact, many businesses now feature Christmas in July sales. Other people look forward to Black Friday sales that now begin Thanksgiving morning or night so shoppers can take advantage of many more hours to secure that special deal on the present everyone wants.

I read an article about a new device that plays video games and all of the anticipation of its release. The article told about one young man who sat in line at the store for six hours to buy the only one of these devices that wasn’t pre-sold. They interviewed another teenager who was hoping their mother would buy one for them even though she told them money was tight this year and they couldn’t afford it.

I am not a Scrooge and I am not against giving gifts, because I realize businesses need sales in order to stay in business. However, I wonder if the gift giving frenzy is out of hand and causing more problems for families who are already struggling to pay their bills.

I also wonder about buying gifts for people who never seem to like what they receive and are eager to return their gifts. Instead of buying gifts for these people, how about buying a gift or a box loaded with groceries for a family out of work or struggling to pay their bills.

More and more people spend the Christmas season in a frenzy. What is a frenzy? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary one definition is an “intense, usually wild and often disorderly compulsive or agitated activity, or a mental or emotional agitation.”

I know many people who fall into this category as they go about in a frenzy to please others.

This year, why not have an “imperfect Christmas” where you don’t have to live up to the expectations of yourself or others. Try eliminating one activity or buying one more present and focus on why we celebrate Christmas.

We celebrate and give glory to God, who never fails us. Hold fast to the words in Lamentations 3:22, 23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

Take time and thank the Lord today for one gift He has already given all of us: His faithfulness.

Debra Whittington is a longtime resident of Tucumcari. Contact her at:

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