Cultivating the Humble, Imperfect Look [celebrating Christmas]

There isn’t much I don’t like about the Christmas season …

  • I love the fun traditional music and the beautiful songs celebrating the Christ child.
  • I love the glittery cheery reds and greens as well as the elegant, Victorian look of the more subdued tones.
  • I love the scent of pine, cedar, cinnamon, and sweetness.
  • I love tinsel and lights and everything spice.
  • I love candles and caroling, stockings and holiday gatherings.
  • I love shiny wrapping paper and curling ribbon.
  • I love reading the Christmas narrative from Luke as well as meaningful Christmas novellas.
  • I love the traditions and memories.
  • I love making Christmas candy and other goodies.
  • I love baking special treats and preparing satisfying warm seasonal dishes.
  • I love eggnog, chai tea, and hot cocoa.
  • I love finding the perfect gift and playing in mounds of snow.
  • I love the smiles on peoples faces and hearts of giving.
  • I love the joy of the season.

But one of the few things I don’t like is the feeling of inadequacy I own each and every year. I look around at the lovely “togetherness” other people project and never measure up.

We never decorate the outside of our house. Our Christmas tree doesn’t have a theme, and worse yet, our ornaments don’t match the rest of the decorated house. And in our small home, when decorating is complete, I lament how “clutter” was not the look I was going for.

In addition, I rarely find that “perfect” gift I’m looking for, my gift-wrapping abilities remain at a preschool level, my baking and candymaking become stressful as Christmas creeps closer, and the kids decide they are tired of our family traditions.

Frustration, weariness, and even near-panic sets in.

Every year I wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way. I doubt it.

Every year I wonder how to remedy the craziness and messiness of our Christmas season. The answer came in the quiet of night this year: the whisper to go back to the beginning … the very beginning of Christmas.

Jesus ornament


And what a humble Christmas it was. Nothing was tidy and neat. No music played. No treats to tantalize taste buds. No bright colors or beautifully wrapped gifts to dazzle the eye.

The scene in the stable was anything but elegant and glittery. The aroma certainly not clean and sweet. Yet none of that mattered because Joseph and Mary had something far more precious: their infant son, Jesus Christ—God incarnate. And in Him abides a joy and peace that transcends traditions and material things.

Gifts are nice, but not necessary. A perfectly decorated house catches our eye but doesn’t hold lasting value. Candy, cookies, and special foods satisfy but for a season. Even Advent devotions can become a hindrance when forced to follow a rigid schedule of human dictation.

So this year I’ve decided not to try to “fix” our Christmas, not to try to clean it up and make it look like everyone else’s. Oh, we”ll still buy some gifts, make some candy, and decorate a tree.

But this year I’ll be focusing like never before on the simple yet profound message of the love found in Jesus Christ.

I’ll be cultivating the humble, imperfect look of a season celebrating the birth of a Savior born in a lowly stable.

I’ll be singing about the joy of salvation and the gift of love.

I’ll be lighting candles in remembrance and reverence, sharing Scripture as the Spirit prompts, and gathering to share His love (not highlighting my decorating and baking skills).

I’ll be remembering the Reason for this season.

Peace and joy will certainly follow.

“Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Jesus Christ, the Father’s Son, will be with us in truth and love” (2 John 1:3).

Share in the Discussion: Have you cultivated the peace of Christ in your Christmas preparations? Please share your ideas in the comments. I’d love to hear them. 

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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

4 comments on “Cultivating the Humble, Imperfect Look [celebrating Christmas]
  1. Love this. And I can relate – I always wanted my tree and home to be decorated like a magazine, thinking that would make our Christmas perfect but I have earned to embrace Christmas as it truly is – Jesus birthday. And now I LOVE our tree that is not themed, the only ornaments are from the kids as they were growing up and those are now precious treasures. Our best memories are when I relaxed and let the season be what it was meant to be.

  2. alexlynnsmith says:

    I know just what you mean about that feeling of near-panic! You are so right to take a step back and focus on Jesus, and I will do so too. Thank you for a real, honest post: it is very endearing amongst all the Perfection.!!

    • juliesunne says:

      Cultivating peace during the Christmas season is so difficult with all the craziness, but I do believe it is possible. I’m still working on getting there. Thank you for stopping by and leaving me encouraged!

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