I used to be a Christmas tree tyrant. You know, that woman who wanted the ornaments and ribbon to be placed just so- everything well coordinated, no gaps, a picture perfect holiday wonder. Friends asked to have their Christmas card pictures taken in front of my fabulous tree.
But it wasn’t any fun.
My perfect Christmas tree was one of those bits and pieces of my life that I threw out along with some other baggage- my angst ridden image of what a good Christian woman looked like, acted like…what her gifts were. It was all an exhausting, unattainable prison of my own design. So, out went the image, and somewhere along the way the perfect Christmas tree went with it.
We started purchasing live trees again. Some were a little crooked, others had gaps. Some were too short, or too skinny, or stopped drinking too soon and lost their needles in a pile on the floor.
I threw out the fussy ribbon, and quit caring where the ornaments landed. Instead, I learned it was much more fun to simply sit and pass the ornaments out to my family to hang wherever they wanted. Inevitably, there are ornament clusters, and ornament “deserts”. Almost always, something gets broken.
My tree is no longer perfectly coordinated, but it is graced with ornaments I love. There are stars, and a little white church, an olive wood Nativity from Jerusalem. There snowflakes, mercury glass leaves, and a blown glass miniature schnauzer with a bow in her hair.
I have grown to love the simplicity, the imperfection of it all. After all, those were just the qualities God chose for the birth of His Son. The Newborn King was wrapped in cloths like a peasant babe. His cradle was not gilded in gold, but a simple manger lined with hay. His royal birth announcement was made to shepherds, simple men from the lowest social class of their society.
It wasn’t elaborate, but it was beautiful. It wasn’t perfect…but it was holy. And that is the kind of Christmas I want. Simple, peaceful, still. Beautiful imperfection.