I wrapped Christmas presents today.
I have all this cute, adorable, beautiful, sparkly paper. And one really ugly roll. I don’t know why I bought it.
Well, actually, I do. I found it on sale for seventy cents a roll. Seventy cents. And it’s one of those never-ending value rolls. Like, a million square feet.
I keep wrapping a gift with it here and there, hoping no one will notice. I try to stick them on the bottom of the pile.
In fact, this roll of paper is so ugly and huge, it may last me my entire life as a caution, a reminder not to shop like that ever again, throwing my seventy cents around without any thought to the consequences.
It literally seems to get bigger every time I cut it. It could outlast me.
But, dear God. I hope not.
My daughter and I wrapped presents today, with mostly the cute paper.
We were wrapping them to send to loved ones nearly a continent away. They are trinkets really, but I pray these friends feel all the love that we can’t be there to give.
As we wrapped, and I checked one more thing off my Christmas list, I felt so organized. I was on time, early even.
And then, I hesitated.
I looked at those gifts packed in that box with so much joy and love and anticipation. Those gifts, wrapped in cheerful patterns, with their messy edges and wrinkly tape, names written, and hearts drawn on the paper with markers.
First, I smiled.
Then, I hesitated.
And then, I criticized.
There were no fluffy bows. No glittery package toppers. No pretty tags.
They were nowhere close to perfect.
For one second, as I thought of our beautiful friends, I didn’t think these presents were good enough. I considered taking them all out and rewrapping them, the way I used to wrap presents. Before I had kids. Before I started homeschooling. Before I realized that energy is a perishable commodity, and I simply can not do it all.
I didn’t know it was a luxury back then.
But I have learned my lesson in a million ways.
Some things just have to be declared good enough.
My sister says the secret to success is, sometimes, lower standards. She laughs when she says it, but she is a wise woman.
And that’s my reality today.
I have other boxes, other appointments, other errands.
I either send these presents now, as they are, or it will not get done. And our friends would miss a blessing. And I would find this package in July, under a pile of sweaters, and realize I never sent it. And then stick it back in the closet with good intentions to try for Christmas next year.
And it would never get done.
I looked at those gifts. I even lifted one out and studied it in my hand, and I immediately heard this, “Do they need to be perfect? Or do they need to be good?”
And I set that gift right back in the box.
And I am not looking back.
Except. Maybe to do something with that hideous paper.
My oldest daughter suggested that we burn it. It’s that ugly.
Or, maybe we’ll just call it a lesson learned.
And good enough.
Perfection is the enemy of the good, and enough is as good as a feast.
I pray your holidays are good enough. Not in the sense of settling, but in the sense of a deep contentment and enjoyment of the messy, real life and true love all around you.
Take a deep breath. Let some of it go. It’s not all going to get done anyway.
Let someone help you, even the kids. Especially the kids. Their work will be messy. But a present wrapped, a cookie decorated, an ornament hung by a child is adorable, and the people who love them will love that they tried. And the kids will feel like they matter. And they will be one year closer to learning how to do what needs to be done.
And they will remember that you valued them enough to let them do the big stuff.
Not one of us is perfect. Holding ourselves and others to that kind of standard is the worst fun killer ever. And it may be the worst love killer, too.
Just send the packages.
And receive them. And all of it. With grace.
Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. 1Pet4:8