Merry Christmas Eve!
I bet a lot of you have received Christmas card and letters over the past few weeks. Isn’t that wonderful? I love them! Except when I don’t love them.
Let me explain..
My name is Ayme Christian. Have you heard of Christian’s Critters? If you have, well, this is going to be a bit different from the usual family update. But it will tell you (for real) how Christan’s Critters was born.
If you haven’t heard of Christian’s Critters, I will attach (or copy) one of our past Christmas letters in the first comment, so you will REALLY understand (poor you) something about our fictional “company.”
To get started: MERRY CHRISTMAS FROM THE CHRISTIAN FAMILY! We hope this finds you and yours well and happy.
But it might not.
As a matter of fact, today might be one of the most miserable days of your life. I know it has been in past years for me:
Christmas 1988 – 7 months after my oldest brother died.
Christmas 1999 – the year I knew I was getting divorced.
Christmas 2009 – the year Johnnie and I almost didn’t make it (we DID make it, all glory to God!).
Christmas 2015 – the year my next brother died.
And Christmas 2018 – yes, this Christmas. The year that my husband lost his job of almost 30 years with no warnings or bad reports on his record.
Christmas is HARD
Sometimes, folks, Christmas is HARD.
That’s how our “business” started. Somewhere around 2008 (give or take a year) we had a really bad year. We had a roof that was leaking and relatives that were sick and vehicles that broke down every week and kids who weren’t perfect (I know, I’m still trying to figure that one out. We’ve now raised/are raising/helped raise FIVE kids and not one single child is perfect! Geez, what are the odds?)
But we have lots of relatives and they all know that we have a bunch of kids and that I like to take pictures…..so we had to send out a Christmas Letter.
We were receiving all kinds of letters: letters from perfect families with perfect marriages and perfect kids getting into Ivy League schools and serving in the Peace Corps. I am not even kidding. We actually know people like that. And we love them and celebrate them!
But we are not…..THEM. We are US. And our US is messy. But who writes a letter about that?
Well, right after I asked myself that question, we received a letter like “that” – from a mom who confided that one child was in prison for life, and another was on her 27th marriage. AND SHE WASN’T JOKING. And I thought that, perhaps, the Christmas update wasn’t the best place to share all of that, either.
I still needed to write a letter
But I still needed to write a letter.
So I did it. I wrote a letter. Actually, I wrote a very short work of fiction.
I can’t remember which year it actually began, but I do remember several things from that first letter. I mentioned that:
–Johnnie and I were celebrating our anniversary at the place where we first met, a Monster Truck Rally (In real life: never been to one).
–We all got saved due to those Baptists down on the corner (In real life: Johnnie and I came to know the Lord when we were teenagers).
–We shut down the family business of running the distillery due to our new Baptist beliefs, and were almost broke (In real life: We’ve never brewed any kind of alcohol. Also, financially, this was one of our best years).
Needless to say, both my mother and my mother in law nearly fell out and disowned us all! 😀 (that is not a joke). As a matter of fact, MY MOTHER sent out a Christmas letter for the first time that year – making sure that everyone knew that MY LETTER was a work of fiction.
Bless her heart.
Seriously, she has put up with a LOT from me over the years.
You may wonder: Why in the world is she putting this all in a Christmas letter? So let me explain.
I LOVE Christmas. I am one of those nuts who plays Christmas music year round. I have a Christmas clock and tons of stockings and I love cold weather and hot chocolate and I actually ENJOY wrapping presents!
But I especially love Jesus. And I love the story of His life, which begins in the book of Luke, chapter 2.
Jesus had a rough life here, and it was a real life, and things were HARD for Him and not perfect. He was born to very young parents, away from home. He was raised by people who didn’t/couldn’t understand Him. He served and then suffered. He was tortured, and killed.
All in about 33 years.
His life wasn’t perfect. And yours isn’t either. And neither is mine. We shouldn’t expect our lives to be perfect. My gosh if the SON OF GOD had a hard life here on earth, then we can’t expect ours to be perfect either.
But sometimes…sometimes we DO have that expectation. When we start receiving all of the beautiful cards with the smiling faces and the summaries of their past years with the perfect families….sometimes we expect that, too.
I am here to tell you: my life is NOT perfect. That is where Christan’s Critters (with the agreement of my husband) was founded and shared. Life is NOT perfect; but we can support each other and pray for each other and we can laugh. I thank God that we can laugh.
Life is not perfect, but God IS perfect. His love for us is REAL and it is PRESENT and it is NOW. He is with us RIGHT. NOW.
So don’t worry about being perfect. Don’t worry about having the perfect family or sharing the perfect picture or sending the perfect card. Don’t even worry about buying the perfect gift or making the holiday perfect – because it won’t be.
Just rejoice in serving a God who knows you…perfectly. And He loves you where you are, in your perfectly messy life.
And if you need to know that there’s someone without a perfect life, struggling along in the mud and muck right beside you…just remember that I’ve been writing a Christmas Letter that is a work of fiction for the past 10-12 years. I understand.
I love you, my friends. And I am praying for you tonight as we move through this real, messy, life…together!