So, this is Christmas...
Gifts opened. Oohs and aahs expressed.
Brunch eaten. Dinner eaten. Dishes washed.
I took blurry photos of our Christmas tree and our family.
We went to see the movie, "New Year's Eve."
Absolutely none of it was perfect.
Last night, the pastor said that if Christmas Eve or Christmas day were ever perfect, then it would be phony. After all, on that holy night long ago, the Savior was born in the backyard, wrapped in torn cloths, and placed in a feeding trough because there was no cradle in the stable. Nothing perfect about that.
The pastor told stories of cracked and broken people and how those stories are the true stories of Christmas. Stories of mental illness, suicide, and two pastors falling during the candle lighting during a Christmas Eve service many years ago. One fell while coming down the stairs with the candle in her hand, and the other tripped over the first pew in the darkness before the congregation's candles were lit. That was in the same service - two pastors fell. Nothing perfect about that.
Those are the imperfect stories of imperfect people, the very imperfect people that were the reason that precious baby stretched his scrawny arms for the first time in the stable in a backyard more than 2000 years ago, stretched his arms out and died on the cross thirty-three years later, and now stretches his arms - through our outstretched arms - and embraces the world to this very day, offering food, water, medical assistance, crisis management help, mercy, love, forgiveness, restoration, reconciliation, and grace to us and through us.
Today I found out that my Spanish mother is in the hospital.
The sound system in the house is not working at the moment.
One bulb in a security light outside the house is burned out.
Most of my Christmas texts and emails have gone unanswered.
I tried to reach my favorite priest for a Christmas blessing, but he didn't answer his cell phone.
It has been a perfectly imperfect Christmas Day.
Awe and gratitude are still very much in effect.
So, this is Christmas?
Yes, this is Christmas.
Joy to the world -
the Lord is come!
PS. Here is another GEM of a piece about Mary, the Mother of our Lord. Among other things, the author wonders: is it possible that several other young women said "no, thanks" to the angel before Mary said "yes"? Now that is a question that has never, ever occurred to me.