I like pretty packages. Mind you, I'm not very good at wrapping presents. I simply don't take the time to be precise and make those neat little folds, and line up the tape just so. I certainly don't have the motivation to make a pretty bow. It is either one of those that sticks on or one I've salvaged from a gift given to me. But, just because packages wrapped by me aren't lovely, doesn't mean I can't appreciate a beautifully wrapped package.
I wanted Christmas this year to look like a perfectly wrapped package tied up with a pristine red bow. So far, it's looking more like the pathetic wrapping job I did on my son's toy drum. (Side note: oddly shaped presents like toy drums filled with other instruments are probably the reason gift bags were invented.)
The pretty Christmas season package looks something like spending lots of time with family and friends. It includes plenty of time spent sitting peacefully by the tree while children play quietly, and the adults enjoy sipping hot cocoa while soft Christmas music plays in the background. Shopping is done together and is completely free of stress. Many nights are spent driving around oohing and ahhing at Christmas lights and decorations. Memories are made while cookies bake and halls are decked almost as soon as the Thanksgiving turkey is finished. It all culminates with candlelight services, a family gathered around reading the story of the first Christmas from the Bible, and exchanging presents that aren't the center, but rather a pleasant addition to the true celebration of Christmas.
A beautifully wrapped Christmas season most emphatically does NOT include a daddy who has to be gone several nights over several weeks for work. It definitely doesn't include children who whine and wake up in the night. Trips to the pediatrician for ear infections, suspected but unconfirmed ear infections, and pink eye are not in a package wrapped with care. A house with a tree not fully decorated, stockings still waiting to be hung, and a cold oven that has yet to see a cookie aren't included in this package either. Most certainly, a grumpy mama, who "just wants a nice Christmas," wouldn't be found in this package.
Yes, this year, our Christmas Season looks a bit sloppy. But, perhaps, if I look a little closer I'll see something else. Maybe, if I take my eyes off the package that looks so pretty, but clearly doesn't have our name on it, I will see the beauty of ours. I might even decide to open it. I just might find that it includes things like a plenty of food, a warm home, children who may whine but also fill the house with much laughter, and a husband who has a job that provides comfortably for us. Perhaps, I'll begin to appreciate that despite the occasional sniffles and other discomforts, we've all got our health. We're soon to be blessed with another child. In fact, if I keep looking I'll find that the blessings are abundant in this package that looks so messy. Last, but certainly not least, I'll be reminded that we are celebrating the birth of our Savior, the one who loves us despite what kind of packages we are--beautiful or a little rough around the edges.
So, I suppose I will tear my eyes away from the "perfect" packages. I'll look at mine and realize that no matter how messy this Christmas season or any other gets, blessings abound and the Lord is good. Troubles will come, both in the form of the minor inconveniences and perhaps some that are more heart wrenching. But, I must be so careful not to judge a package by its wrapping. It is quite possible that the one that looks like it was a wrapped by a toddler in the dark, is the one that is just right.