This morning we had the chance to attend a Christmas program at a different church. One of my adorable piano students was performing in the childrens' choir. I really like to go to Christmas programs and if you are a Mo, you know we don't really do all out programs (which is a shame, but that is a topic for another day).
So, we got the Herd going and headed down the road for this program. It was really just wonderful. The music was awesome. I mean, they had their regular church band (if we had a band every week just to change up the monotony of the organ I would weep for joy and then sing extra loud) and they had a small orchestra, plus their children and adult choir. It was wonderful. Beautiful dancing, exuberant singing and the last numbers really had you on your feet. I loved their renditions of "Go, Tell it on the Mountain" and "Little Drummer Boy". When you hear music like that, you just can't help but feel happy. Their message was wonderful too, but I'll get back to that.
After the service we had to rush back to our church because I was playing piano for the little kids while they sang. That went just great of course. I hit a few clunkers on the piano (my hands have been cold all day and just refuse to work. You should see the typos I've had to correct just writing this!). Overall, it was just a nice service for us too.
Of course, that took us to 5 hours of church, including about 40 minutes of driving to services. It was totally worth it and everyone had a great day, but next time we do that I will remember to pack lunches to eat while we drive. Whoops.
Now, back to the message of the first service. They had a fun play going between the songs and it was a little ho hum for me, until it wasn't. There was just a plain moment when one of the performers was talking about Mary and how much pressure she must have felt knowing she was going to be mother to Jesus. Think about how much pressure it would be to be the mother of the Savior of the World. Then, he (the performer) transitioned over to how much pressure each of us puts on ourselves to be the perfect parent, spouse, employee, sibling, friend, housekeeper... everything. We are always adding to that mounting pile of pressure that we really can't live up to. Think about that. You know you do it. I do it. I mean, just the other day I was in tears again because the kids hadn't cleaned their rooms and I was certain someone was going to call CPS and take my kids away. Sam says I am worrying too much and it needs to be way messier, but for me it just felt like this colossal failure on my part. I can name so many ways I put that pressure on myself so when this performer brought this up, I was paying attention.
What he said next really hit home with me. I am paraphrasing a bit, but I think I'm getting the gist of it right. He said, "maybe God doesn't want us to put all that pressure on ourselves to be great at everything and do things right all the time. Maybe he just wants us to be exactly who we are and then allow him to make up the difference when we fall short."
Let's go over that idea again. Maybe, just maybe God is happy with who we are right now, all our flaws, all our silly shortcomings and all our strengths. Maybe he just wants us to keep being us, to stop comparing ourselves with our relatives, neighbors friends or even our past selves or what we think our present selves should be. Maybe he wants a chance to accept us exactly as we are AND help us grow and progress as people. What a thought.
Now, I pondered on this for the most of the day and I came up with more. What if we were made imperfect to give others the chance to learn and grow and complement us in life? What if our flaws aren't so much flaws as opportunities? What if when we have stressful moments in life or perceived hardships we saw them as opportunities to hone a talent we have or find one we didn't know about? What if we have a choice when things go wrong or life gets hard and we don't have to choose to see the hard or wrong, but we could decide to see an exciting obstacle course to rock? What if the point of life is less about what we get accomplished and more about our attitude along the way?
What if we are really pretty fantastic and loveable and valuable just the way we are today?
I think you know that in my head these aren't what ifs, but, I'm not sure about all of you? Do you know that? Do you need to take some time and think about that?
I'm still thinking more about all of this and really enjoying that process, but I thought I'd share it and let some of you think about it too. Also, I encourage all of you to try something that may be wildly different for you this year. Go to a service of a faith you are not a part of. Sit down, listen and think. There is so much good in the world and you may not agree with every single thing you hear, but I bet you'll see some things that you enjoy.
Christmas challenge accepted? I hope so.
Today was a good day.