I’m not a tree-hugging cosmic hippie, mind you, but for some reason I do like to do something special around Winter Solstice. This year I had a fine day planned out. We would take the girls out for our annual drive around the nearby neighborhoods, pick up some coffee, maybe even get the girls some hot chocolate, put some peaceful Christmas music on and drive until the girls were sleepy. We’d bring them home and I’d enjoy a quiet evening writing up a summary on the year and reflecting on life a little bit.
Then one of my children somehow broke the TV. The new TV that is my birthday gift, anniversary gift, and Christmas gift all combined, broken. I don’t know what she did but if you have toddlers in your house, you know you only have to look away for thirty seconds and somehow your nice expensive thing is ruined. I spent over an hour on the phone with technical support with no help (well, at least they are fulfilling their obligation with the warranty and replacing it.) By the time I got off the phone, it was too late to go out. The girls were miserable and upset that their promised trip out was canceled. I was in a foul mood and sent them straight to bed. A fine evening ruined.
Unfortunately, that’s the way things seem to work out with small children. Much like going to war, plans with small children are usually thrown out after the first sortie. Adriene and I spent a great weekend in Chattanooga away from the girls while they spent time with the grandparents. We had such a good time and I would’ve thought when I returned I would have more patience with them but it seems like I’ve had even less. Maybe they are just hopped up on too much candy around Christmas, I don’t know, but there have been a lot more tears and punishments in the last couple of days than I can remember in a while.
I’ve been thinking a lot about the reasons for my discontent lately and I think much of it comes down to the fact that due to either the workload of work and children or my general laziness I feel like I’ve only been putting out 80% effort into everything. I get things done “just enough”, but not really up the quality that I would expect it done. “Good enough” is a phrase I unfortunately use a lot. The guy who lived in the house before me was the father of four children under the age of 4 and I used to wonder why every house-repair job in the house was done so, ahem, halfway (I have a word that I like to use for this, but this is a polite blog, you see.) Now, I totally understand. In the new year, I hope I can push forward and exert a little effort, even if it is tiring, but still recognize when “good enough” is indeed good enough.
Imperfection has been on my mind a lot lately, particularly around this Christmas season. I’m sure when Mary and Joseph trudged into Bethlehem tired from the long trip that being forced to sleep in a stable was far from the perfect homecoming they imagined. Yet, that is exactly the way God wanted it play out. Christmas is all about imperfections. We all have that perfect Christmas planned out with the happy family sat before a table bursting with food and presents while a perfect little snowfall happens outside. (By the way, the weather man is predicting snow on Christmas day this year? Nothing like the whole city of Atlanta freaking out on a holiday. Dreaming of a White Christmas? More like a nightmare if people get stranded on icy roads trying to get to their holiday events.) We don’t get perfect little Christmases, however. We get ungrateful children and arguing family. We get a load of work waiting for us when we return to our jobs. We get credit card bills. We get disappointment because our perfect little Christmas was not so perfect. And yet… yet, the hope of perfection lies there in the manager, that some day every sad thing will become untrue. It’s easy to get lost amongst our own personal expectations that we are celebrating God working in His own perfection. There is perfection on Christmas and it is already here and not yet here.
The days only become brighter from here.