MY HUSBAND and children still affectionately remind me of “The Year of the Crooked Christmas Tree” – a time when I almost succumbed to the futile quest for the “perfect” holiday celebration. That particular year, when my son was quite young, he was wrapped up in his typically exuberant play and crashed into the Christmas tree, knocking it to the ground. I picked it up and tried to set it back in its stand, only to discover that the base had broken in the fall. As I leaned the crooked tree against the wall and swept up the broken ornaments, I struggled with feelings of sadness and disappointment. Our “perfectly” beautiful tree was now all wrong.
Over the following days, however, I slowly began to regain perspective. I would have welcomed the practice of contemplative coloring had I known about it back then. As the crooked Christmas tree became an unanticipated part of our holiday décor, I grew surprisingly fond of its quirky presence.
It reminded me that the desire to create the perfect Christmas had become a distraction. Christmas isn’t about the perfect tree or the perfect gift or the perfect gathering. Christmas is about bringing our imperfections to the manger and trusting that the peace that passes all understanding can be born into our lives. Centering Prayer and contemplative coloring help us let go of this myth of perfection and return our focus to the Prince of Peace.
– Sharon Seyfarth Garner
Mandalas, Candles, and Prayer
From page 98 of Mandalas, Candles, and Prayer: A Simply Centered Advent by Sharon Seyfarth Garner. Copyright © 2017 by Sharon Seyfarth Garner. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Upper Room Books. http://bookstore.upperroom.org/ Learn more about or purchase this book.
Find God through the imperfections you encounter today. Share your thoughts.
And because you are children, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”
Galatians 4:6, NRSV
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This week we remember: Stephen (December 26).
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
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