Embracing the Imperfect at Christmas

Since my 31 Day series is working its way into December, I would be remiss to not write about living with intention and grace during the Christmas season, as it is a time that many of us moms feel so much pressure to create the perfect Christmas for our families. Like I wrote yesterday, when we get too caught up in all of the doings of Christmas, we can find ourselves stressed out and irritable, and entirely miss out on what this time should be about for us and for our families.

Last year, I had planned out the perfect December evening for our little family. I would make a special dinner, we would make our first Advent Ornament, and then we would decorate the Christmas tree together while sipping hot chocolate and listening to our favorite Christmas music.

Of course, things did not go as planned or envisioned.

Phillip had already put the tree up and brought down all our decorations from the attic earlier that week. The boys were very anxious to start decorating, so that morning, they tore into my ornament boxes (and I mean tore) and started getting them out faster than I could hang them up.

That afternoon, the boys and I went to the church with Phillip, so I could wrap some gifts for our upcoming Women’s Ministries Christmas Party. Things took longer than expected and we left the church later than we should have. We were starving, so we decided to order a pizza instead of me preparing the meal I had planned. Because Jack had exhausted himself playing with a little boy at church, he fell into a deep sleep in the car, and we could not wake him up when we got home. After we finished the pizza, Phillip had to send some important work related emails, and I had a little pity party for myself because nothing was going the way I had planned.

Jack was asleep, Phillip was on the computer, Aidan was taking the ornaments off the tree faster than I could put them on. No music, no hot chocolate, no Advent devotion.

And so this grumpy Mommy worked on the Christmas decorations with quite the bad attitude.

A little while later, I heard a door open, followed by little footsteps, and an exclamation, “Mom, it’s beautiful!”

Jack had woken up and came to join us. I asked him if he wanted some pizza and he sat in the room and ate while I finished decorating. We turned on some Christmas music and Phillip joined us as well. We finished the tree, and it looked beautiful. Then we went to the dining room table and read our Advent devotion. We never made the ornament, which was supposed to be a candle, but that’s okay. We lit a candle and read our devotion by candlelight, which was even more special. We finished the evening by eating chocolate chip cookies out on the sun-porch by the light of our little Advent tree.

It was a beautiful evening after all!

I can’t help but think of Mary and how things did not go as she had planned. She never planned to get pregnant. Never planned to ride a donkey that distance at the end of her pregnancy. Never planned to give birth in a stable surrounded by animals, alone with no midwife or friend to assist. Yet, the night she gave birth to Jesus, was surely the most beautiful evening in history!

God has a way of taking the things that we see as imperfect, and turning them into things of beauty.

This Christmas season, let’s try to let go of our perfect plans, and see the beauty in the imperfect.

The beauty in little curious hands that take ornaments off the tree.

The beauty in take-out pizza by candlelight.

The beauty of home, family and togetherness.

Cultivating Intention

Can you reflect on a time when things did not go according to your plans, but everything turned out well in the end? Hold this memory close and take it to heart when things don’t seem to be going your way this season.

Cultivating Grace

Read Luke 1:26-38. Here we find a young girl planning out her wedding, and all of a sudden, she is told that she is going to have a baby before her marriage, which meant great shame and ridicule for her and for Joseph. And do you know what her response was?

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Luke 1:38

I pray that we can accept changes to our plans with the same grace and beauty as Mary did.

Wishing you an imperfect but beautiful Christmas season!



This post is Day 18 of the 31 day series I am writing on cultivating a life of intention and grace. For a complete index of posts in this series, click here. To read more 31 Days series, please visit The Nester.

To receive my daily blog updates in your email inbox, please click here to subscribe.

Enter your email address to receive blog updates via email


  1. I have learned through so many events that my expectations are not always God’s plans. When i have certain expectations he will always break it down and show me that his plan was always better. Thanks, Amanda, for sharing this series and your own story. Love to you.

  2. Needed this today. So glad you’re continuing your series

Join the Conversation


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Social Network Integration by Acurax Social Media Branding Company
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On InstagramVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On Youtube