I’M IN LOVE WITH IT.
Maybe the child chose a bright blue marker because he loves bright blue- or maybe everyone else was using green or red so the blue one was free so why not use it- and he put his Christmas wishes out there in his cheeriest writing, with a fine exclamation point at the end because everybody knows that Christmas is something to celebrate!
Then he looked at his bag and something seemed not quite right, but why worry over it? So he admitted there could possibly be a spelling problem, and then he moved on.
Christmas is a time for being marry! Not for fussing over letters!
The free joyful spirit behind this blue Christmas wish is part of why I’m also in love with the Hanging of the Green service that we had at church on Sunday. Does your church do this? The Hanging of the Green (or “Hanging of the Greens” if you’re not scared that people will think you’re going to slather collard greens all over the pews) is a worship service in which the church family enjoys scripture and carols and hymns while decorating the sanctuary together. And as we hang banners and garland, as we put out the advent wreath and light the Chrismon tree, we share the meanings behind the decorations and dedicate them to God.
This was our church’s first time, as far as I know, and not all of us were crazy about the idea at first. The children will bring in the poinsettias during worship? What if they drop them? What if the leaves get broken? What if they put them in weird places and the sanctuary looks a mess?
I’ll tell you a secret. I hoped for messy. Messy means I can join in- and so can you- without worry. We don’t have to get it exactly right. We don’t have to be perfect.
As my friend (I wish) Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Big Magic, (yes, I’ve been quoting her ever since Friday) “I think perfectionism is just a high-end, haute couture version of fear. I think perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat, pretending to be elegant when actually it’s just terrified. Because underneath that shiny veneer, perfectionism is nothing more than a deep existential angst that says, again and again, ‘I am not good enough and I will never be good enough.’”
To perfectionism I say, “Sorry Charlie, but you’ll have no place at my Christmas this year!” There’s too much fun to be had. I want to jump in there with the kids and sing carols (in my real voice) and frost cookies if I feel like it. I want to read Christmas books and watch Christmas movies. I want to pile in the car to go see the lights. I want to go to every single service at church. I want to love on my family and friends and celebrate that God loves us so much that he came down to earth as a person, just so we would finally get the point. So we could know and understand God better – how to love each other and live together -and be close to God forever.
I will not let perfectionism spoil any of my fun. I will not be a liver in fear. That’s it! I will imagine perfectionism as a big liver sauteed in fear, and I will make fois gras and spread it on toast and eat it! And I might not even wipe my face after enjoying its buttery goodness. So there, perfectionism!
I hereby vow to you that I will not be a perfectionist/ fear liver in the following things: (Join me if you like!)
- Buying the PERFECT GIFTS! I will not get hung up on this. My family and friends love me anyway.
- Having a PERFECT HOUSE WITH MAGAZINE SPREAD WORTHY DECOR! I will not get hung up on this. We’ll enjoy time at home anyway.
- Providing PERFECT MEALS! I will not get hung up on this. We will eat mostly healthy-ish food and some not so healthy food just to celebrate- and it’s just food anyway. We chew it up and digest it and it’s gone.
I would lecture myself about not worrying about sending the PERFECT CHRISTMAS CARD, but I stopped doing cards years ago and I LOVE NOT WORRYING ABOUT THAT. You will get no cards from me, I’m afraid. But I will give you a hug if I see you. And I will write you a post on Facebook, though I refuse not to worry if it’s perfect.
(If you send me cards, though, know that I really enjoy them. I do! I will not think that you’re trying to be perfect. You’re just one of those weird people who has fun sending out cards and nothing is wrong with that, even though I don’t understand it. I’m happy for you and for everyone who gets them, including me.)
So Happy Advent to you! And here’s a gift! It’s part of the scripture we shared on Sunday.
“The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, the bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners..” Isaiah 61:1
I wish you a Christmas season of joy and freedom!
Marry Chrismos, everybody!