I found myself online looking through Christmas cards to find one for this years family photo. I’m a sucker. I really love picture Christmas cards. As I scrolled down the options on the page I was captured by the bright colors and sentimental words.
Something began to feel off. I noticed that each picture represented was perfect. No one was unhappy or ugly or crying. You looked at the pictures represented and couldn’t help but think these people live a charmed life… at least that’s how they’re represented. Now I recognize that these are beautiful models being used to sell Christmas cards but it felt so false and artificial.
Am I saying it’s wrong to use a good photo? No, of course you should use your best picture. Is it wrong to have cute kids? Absolutely not. My kids are adorable.
I guess I’m just realizing we’re not always smiling. Our clothing isn’t always perfect and pristine. And sometimes you can’t always see the heartache behind the smiles.
When did we stop being genuine? Why is it a crime to be broken? When people ask how you are they want to hear that you’re doing well and not get beyond that. Part of it is a social custom. The other part is people don’t know how to handle messy people.
Yet I also think we crave reality. How many of us balk at the traditional “My Amazing Family” Christmas newsletter: “Bobby made the all-star sports team, won first place at the science fair & is going to Harvard next fall. Little Suzy made student of the year, straight A’s, is prima ballerina for her recital and was made homecoming queen for 3rd grade.”
I’m not trying to be cynical. It’s good to be proud of your kids achievements. It’s good to talk about good things… but isn’t there more? Isn’t there something lacking? Why are we so defined by our achievements and successes? Why are we afraid to talk to the person who just lost their child? Why do we ignore the hard issues that people around us are walking through… or hide the ones that we’re walking through ourselves.
We want to appear to have it together. We want to look beautiful and successful and without flaws. And when we do that I think we’re desperately fighting our need for a Savior. We don’t want to need saving. We don’t want to appear to be in need of rescuing.
The truth is we’re all messes. We’re all broken. We all have problems, needs & issues. And we all need a rescue. To pull us out of our messes and to save us. To redeem us from a tragic, broken world.
And we’re also not alone. God has given us each other to encourage, support, pray for, and uphold. So I’m standing with you wherever you’re at. No matter how bad or sad or hopeless it seems. And I need people to stand with me and to remind me just how big and amazing our savior is. Our God can raise people from the dead. He takes dead things and makes them alive. Our God is mighty to save. He rescues broken messes. I know, because He has rescued me.