The ubiquitous Advent calendar has never really been a thing in our family. We've got plenty of traditions we like to do during the month leading up to Christmas, but never a structured every-single-day-of-December undertaking.
As a perfectionist just barely passing in good society as "normal," I think I always knew deep down I just couldn't handle that kind of commitment.
Because for someone like me, embarking on a daily obligation for an entire month at the busiest time of the whole year would almost certainly end in a flaming disaster of Hindenburg-like proportions.
If you're not a perfectionist or you don't know one closely, this is what we're like:
- We're fine with passing on opportunities if we know we can't do them well; in fact, we prefer it. Anything worth doing is worth doing right.
- And by "right," I mean perfectly.
- Massive amounts of stress happen when we've committed (even if only in our minds) to doing something and it doesn't go well.
- And by "well," I mean perfectly.
I wasn't ignorant of these 4 facts when I was given a free copy of the Names of Christ Advent Devotional, but I jumped at the chance to use it anyway because I'm always looking for ways to get my kids engaged in learning about Jesus (especially at Christmas.) And my favorite price is free.
Needless to say, we haven't been terribly consistent. I seemed to have forgotten when we started this on December 1st that we also have a life, with soccer practices and school activities and social events and playdates and nights when everyone in the family isn't even home at the same time. Frequently.
It's not very surprising then, that we are woefully behind.
In fact, if you used our progress on the devotional to guess which day it is, today would be the 15th. Which is bad because it's actually the 23rd.
Normally, this would send me into a perfectionist-induced breakdown whereupon I conclude my entire life is a shambles. End scene.
But by some Christmas miracle, it hasn't.
I've watched my kids decorating the themed ornaments that come with the Advent devotional and noticed something. They're enjoying themselves. They're learning. We may not be the most on-top-of-it family in the whole world, but we're a real family and we're doing our best.
The fact that we're doing it at all is more important than the fact that we're doing it imperfectly.
Anyway, who says you can't be learning about Jesus and coloring Christmas ornaments on December 31st? Because we will be.
Merry Christmas, even if you haven't done everything like you wanted to this month. Peace on earth, and especially in your home and in your mind — even if you're a perfectionist like me.