This is the time of year that I love.
I always say that being a teacher is the very best job you can have at Christmas time. (Muffled snort.) I do genuinely love celebrating the Christmas season with my students, but honestly- it is quite exhausting.
There are so many special moments…
And so many imperfect moments.
This is the time of spilled hot chocolate and having wet socks all day because you stepped in a puddle of melted snow in the hallway.
This is the time of learning new songs that go higher and notes that hold out longer than your voice wants to.
This is the time of forgetting to do your spelling homework because you plain old have a lot on your mind- like memorizing your Christmas program lines, for example.
This is the time of getting hit in the face with a snowball that was somewhat icy, and nobody can tell if it was meant to be icy or not. Except for the thrower, but he’s sure not giving anything away.
This is the time for going Christmas carolling and riding on a school bus. The time for tying yourself to the back of your desk seat with your sweater to remind yourself to sit up straight. The time for not being able to run as fast as normal, because of your puffy snow pants and clompy boots.
This is the time of garlands and Christmas lights, nouns and simple subjects, reducing fractions, and growing bean plants with Miss Kerra in science class. The time of Christmas piano recitals and buying Christmas presents for your mom and dad.
This is the time for making your own nativity scene out whatever materials you want to. The time for throwing the regular schedule up in the air and saying, “See you next year!” to it.
And at home….
This is the time for knowing that beef and broccoli stir fry is on the menu for supper, and thawing beef in preparation for that, but then somehow (in the span of 20 minutes) forgetting about the stir fry and putting potatoes in the oven to bake so that you can make loaded baked potato soup. I didn’t remember until I was well into the process of making the soup that I was supposed to be making stir fry. This is the time of scorching said soup so badly that it was inedible, throwing it away, and making a new pot of soup.
This is the time of baking at eleven o’clock at night. This is the time of finding your oven mitt in the garbage but having no memory (and certainly no intention) of putting it there.
This is the time of dirty dishes and full countertops. (And the time for writing about these things rather than cleaning them up.)
This is the time of starting a second compost container, because the first one is full. It’s not that you don’t have time to empty it, it’s just that you’re simply, well, not doing it.
This is the time of slippery spots on the kitchen floor, but don’t worry- there’s a sticky spot right beside it that will help you get a grip before you wipe out.
This is the time for scrunchy corner kitchen hugs.
This is the time of secrets and surprises and walking home in blue, heavy, comfortable snow.
This is the time of going Christmas shopping with very grown-up little sisters.
This is the time of a sweet student bringing you a Lindor chocolate on a morning when your lunch (and spirits) were, shall we say, lacking.
This is the time of loving what you get to do every day, and the children that you get to be with, so much that you don’t really know what to do about it.
This is the time for choosing joy and relationship, even if you are tired.
This is the time of accepting imperfection- both in others and yourself.
This is the time of lighting candles and sitting on the living room floor and praying.
And that praying time? That is the very hardest and the very best of all the times. The exhaustion of all the things that you don’t know wears away a little bit, and hope and trust take its place. The pain of the imperfect becomes bearable because you know that there is a Redeemer and you are His.
The perfect and the imperfect… it was even this way at the very first Christmas.
The Savior of the world born into this dull, shadowy world?
How very imperfect and how very beautiful.