I remember the day that we decorated the house... after we had put up the decorations I got my phone out to snap a quick pic to post on Facebook, but before I could post my perfect Christmas decoration pic I had to crop out all the trash and other junk that was all over the floor, so that everyone would see my beautiful lights and tree and NOT my dirty house. In our generation we have a plague that is sucking the joy out of our life, it's called "Being Camera Ready".
A few days ago, sitting at the table across from my cute date, at Wingstop, eating what could possibly be the messiest food on earth, I saw an unexptected sight over his shoulder... Two woman sitting across the table from each other, taking selfies of themselves at Wingstop. It took a while for them to get the perfect shot and I just had to laugh. That's us. Our generation (and I include myself in this insanity) always taking the perfect pic, of the perfect date, our perfect family, our perfect Christmas decorations... always cropping out or retaking our pics until they don't reveal the reality of the situation, namely that you are at Wingstop, eating messy wings and this is really not the best time to be worrying about how your hair looks when you are stuffing your face and have original hot sauce all over your mouth.
Expectation of perfection are causing us to be a generation of frustrated, unthankful, joyless fools... I say fools because perfection is an illusion. We can not attain perfection, but we try and when we don't succeed we crop.
Minutes after we arrived at my husband's graduation ceremony I overheard a mom say to her young graduate "I just want your day to be perfect." I'm sure everyone there had been visualizing this day and all the perfect photos they would upload of their perfect graduation day... However, it was anything, but perfect. After we had been standing around in the foyer, that was getting extremely crowded for what seemed like eternity, one of the staff of the college stood up on a chair and said "Well, we are going to have to go with an impromptu plan B... the electricity is out across this part of the city." Then they began to bring in chairs into the over flowing foyer and seat the people they could fit, as the rest of us stood closer than you would ever want to stand to another human being you don't know. As the families and friends were finding our places the graduates had to fill out a paper with their names and degrees to hand to the speaker who would then call their name and hand them a diploma... the problem was the grads would be up on the balcony and we would barely be able to see them. Only if the whole room remained silent would we be able to hear our grad's name called. It was not the picture perfect day anyone had dreamed of. It was a lesson learned that the journey is the important thing, not the photo op. It was a lesson learned that you have to roll with the punches and enjoy the ride or you will be a sorely disappointed and unhappy human being.
Mary probably had a lot of hopes and dreams of what her life would be like. She was engaged and soon they would be married and start a family and live happily ever after. PERFECT!!! Then the angel of the Lord said to the "unwed, teenager"... You've been chosen, highly favored... You will bear a son, the Savior. Wow, wait... I'm not married yet... what will he think? what will my parents think? this is NOT the way it works Mr. Angel?
Mary probably had a lot of visions of what her perfect delivery would be like. Little did she know that she would be travelling the uncomfortable rocky, hills of the Israeli countryside, ready at anytime to give birth.
Mary probably dreamed of the perfect place to bring her baby into this world... little did she know that she would be turned away countless times, until she was forced to have her son in a place only fit for animals.
I'm sure she would have liked to provide so much more for the Savior of the World, but she couldn't do that and her reality was anything, but perfect. What can we learn from this young girl that God hand-picked to be the mother of HIS son? What was her response when her life didn't look the way she thought it would?
"And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for BEHOLD, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty has done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation." Luke 1:46-51
Thank God, Mary was willing to drop the camera, and let go of her idea of a perfect life to bring forth the Savior of the World. Thank God, she was willing to let go of her hopes and dreams and plans for her future to allow God to save the whole world. It wasn't about her. She wasn't focused on how things were going to look. She wanted to be a part of God's plan and she was filled with JOY that God would choose her.
When her plan was messed up she said "Behold the handmaid of the Lord; BE IT UNTO ME ACCORDING TO THY WORD."
Mary was willing to let God have his way even when his ways didn't make sense to her. She was willing to allow God to use her even when it was hard and uncomfortable. She REJOICED to be a part of God's amazing plan...
What about you this Christmas... will you exchange your picture perfect Christmas for the one that Christ has planned for you?