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Friday, December 12, 2014

Ditch the Fig Leaves this Christmas

This is the season of giving and receiving.  Making lists and checking them twice.  So much pressure we put upon ourselves to be perfect.  Perfect cards, perfect desserts, perfect outfits, perfect hair, perfect kids, perfect gifts...it's all perfect.  Or is it?  I'm tired of the perfection game.  Perfection is something we strive for but never attain.  We miss the Perfect gift of Christmas busying ourselves trying to "be perfect" and before long we are wiped out well before the twenty-fifth of December. Why do we make ourselves crazy this time of year more than any other time?  We want our families to appear happy, our homes beautifully decorated minus any life clutter popping out of closets and drawers and the kids on their best behavior because we have bribed them with lots of candy. Who are we really trying to fool? Why does the fig leaf come out this time of year and try to hide the truth of who we really are?

It's no secret that Adam and Eve made fig leaves because they were afraid (Genesis 3: 10) What were they afraid of?  Afraid that God would no longer love them. Afraid that if God really knew them and saw them for who they really were -- He may not like them. Friends I think it is the same for us...fear of rejection.  Rejection that God wouldn't like me, rejection that those around me wouldn't like me anymore.  The truth is God all ready knows what we are and He loves us just the same. Ever since that day in the garden when Eve took the fruit and ate it and shared it with her husband mankind has been hiding out.  Covering up with fig leaves. The problem isn't in the fig leaves it's in our thinking.

I can't let others see the real me, because they won't like the real me.

Christmas cards with perfect smiling faces and fresh clothes all matching -- picture perfect perfection, but is it real?

Oh thanks to Pinterest I can pin my way to perfection: homemade crafts and goodies to eat but is it really sweet?

Presents wrapped up with ribbons and bows out of guilt to give above and beyond my means in order to please others. Come January will they even remember who the gift was from?

There is a measure of dysfunction in all of us.  We are broken people in desperate need of a Savior.  So why this time of year do we hum the tune of Silent Night when we are screaming on the inside of all the un-holy in us and hide once again behind fig leaves?  Our thinking is all messed up.  We don't need to perform better but receive better.  It's the Gift we keep rejecting.  The Gift of God's love is free - but we reject it before we can unwrap all that is there!

John 3:16 NKJV - "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life."



Christmas is all about believing the Gift.  The gift of a baby sent from heaven to save the world from it's sin and sure death.  The story of Christmas began way back in the beginning.  Back in the garden with the fig leaves.  God knew that Adam and Eve would fall and be afraid.  He had a plan to bring the best Gift of salvation to mankind. Hiding leads to more hiding and playing this game of perfectionism. It leaves you feeling ashamed, alone, isolated and fearful.

 Genesis 3:7-10 NKJV - Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they [were] naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings. And they heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. Then the LORD God called to Adam and said to him, "Where [are] you?" So he said, "I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself."

We don't need to be afraid of being real -- being naked about who we really are.  Hiding behind fig leaves prevents you from being really naked.  Exposing the truth of who you really are immediately makes you vulnerable, open and free.  God sees it all. The truth is we don't like how we feel when we are hiding.  When we confess our hiding we experience freedom and healing.

James 5:16 ESV - "Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working."

So friends this Christmas stop hiding and be real!  Find a friend to be real with and stop playing the game of perfectionism.  Be real.  I dare you to be transparent.  Stop doing all the motions of Christmas with a fake heart and fig leaves tied up to cover your imperfections.  Hey we are ALL sinners saved by grace. We need healing this Christmas.  Healing from our addiction to perfectionism.

Luke 2:8-11 NKJV - "Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. "For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord."

You can find the words "do not be afraid" even in the Christmas story.  Be brave have courage and fear not! The Shepherds are a great example to us.  They were willing to go just as the angel told them.  They did no hiding, no fake photo ops just pure authentic shepherds praising the saviors birth.  What a glorious picture for us.  

I'm still working on writing my Christmas letter and waiting for the family photo card I ordered just this week to arrive.  I need to buy stamps and make my address list.  There are endless shopping lists, presents to buy, parties to attend and the never ending chores of the everyday still have to be done. I choose to be naked and openly say I am not perfect.  I still don't have a Christmas tree yet and the lights we bought to put outside are still in the box.  I have grand plans for using that secret Pinterest board on the best  Christmas cookies and homemade gifts to make for all my friends -- but this year it just may not happen.  Sorry friends!  I choose the best Gift: Jesus over perfection and I'm ditching the fig leaves.

"I don't want a Christmas you can buy.
I don't want a Christmas you can make.
What I want for Christmas is a Christmas I can hold.
A Christmas that holds me, remakes me, revives me.
I want a Christmas that whispers , Jesus!"
---Ann Voskamp The Greatest Gift
Merry Christmas!