Guess who’s been writing a ton recently like an actual writer who writes actual writing?
Guess who’s been posting blogs like a successful and committed blogger who blogs regularly for her very few but very sweet readers?
Apparently, I’m incapable of doing both.
The reason for this (I believe) is that I am not perfect. No, my friends and readers, I am not perfect, as evidenced by the fact that I wrote this at 12:00 one night when I said I would go to bed at 9:30, or the fact that there is a massive zit that is currently forming on my face, despite how much chocolate I’ve eaten to keep it at bay.
I am a human. I have flaws. I make mistakes.
“But that’s okay,” says pop culture and Moana. “Everyone has flaws and makes mistakes. It’s who you are on the inside that matters.”
I don’t know why this is comforting to people. Who I am on the inside is a broken human being, hence the many, many mistakes. Not sweet, cute mistakes either. There’s something about the word “mistake” that everyone seems to think is adorable and lovable.
Mistake is a word with a malevolent meaning. It is an inherently bad thing, but now it’s seen as benign.
Our culture has done this with other things. Imperfection is now more appealing than perfection because it’s “more interesting.” Bad decisions are a sign of youthfulness and fun.
This works in books, movies, and music. You need mistakes, imperfections, and bad decisions to move the plot along. There would be no I Love Lucy if Lucy weren’t tripping around screwing things up. Mistakes and imperfections are part of the story–they make things interesting.
But so do villains. And no one seems to think that villains are a good thing in real life.
We love Lucy for her flaws. We can afford to–we’re sitting outside the screen laughing at the mess she’s gotten herself and Ethel into. But you know who doesn’t love Lucy’s flaws?
Life is very different from stories.
Our society has turned imperfection into something sweet and endearing. You’ll see the term Perfectly Imperfect on T-shirts and mugs and written in perfectly imperfect lettering over a picture of a perfectly imperfect sunset.
But in reality, that is a self-contradiction, and it can’t be true.
In reality, imperfect causes problems.
Imperfect causes lost games. Imperfect causes lost jobs. It causes rifts in families. It causes crumbling governments. It causes war.
Imperfect can be cute when your daughter burns the toast she was trying to make you for Mother’s Day.
Imperfect is not cute when it causes division and strife between friends.
This is kind of depressing, especially since it’s Christmas. I’m sorry–let me switch gears.
No one and nothing in this world is perfect. People have searched for Utopia for millennia. They haven’t found it, because this world is fundamentally, tragically imperfect. (I know this doesn’t sound like switching gears, but I promise I’m getting there.)
The reason for this is Sin. Sin came into the world a long, long time ago, and it is still wreaking havoc today. Sin is the root of imperfection; it is the cause of every sorrow; it is the catalyst for every disaster.
Sin is generally equated to murder, adultery, stealing, and other things that are pretty much illegal or frowned upon by society. But the Bible says sin goes deeper than that.
Sin is when you gossip behind your friend’s back.
Sin is when you consider gossiping behind your friend’s back.
Sin is when you have the thought that you could gossip behind your friend’s back.
Sin–in its most basic form–is you being born completely and irreconcilably apart from God. People do not like this, but it is true.
None of us ever had to be taught how to be selfish. Why not?
Because sin and imperfection are not a result of what we do. They are a result of who we are.
This is why pop culture’s claim that “it’s who you are on the inside that matters” is not comforting. If who I am on the inside is what matters, I am in deep trouble. Who I am on the inside is a sinner.
Now comes the switching of gears. (It took a long time. Sorry.)
Christmas is a season of snow and carols and family gatherings and really cheesy Hallmark movies. You know what almost all those very cheesy, poor quality, badly-written, badly-acted Hallmark movies are about?
Because Christmas, in its truest, purest form, is a season of hope. On Christmas Day (representatively) two thousand years ago, Hope was born in a manger in the hay. His name was Jesus Christ, or Emmanuel, which means “God with us.”
Here is the thing about God–He is perfect.
Here is the thing about us–we are imperfect. (Not in a cute way.)
Because of this, there was a great rift between Heaven and Earth, between God and Man, between Perfection and Imperfection.
That rift was bridged when Jesus Christ became God with us. His birth was the beginning of the New Beginning.
Thirty years later, He was crucified. His death was the climax of the New Beginning. When Jesus Christ died, by a great and mysterious miracle, He took our sins upon Him. Perfection became Imperfection and was therefore divided from God so that we don’t have to be.
When a sinner (like me) realizes that she is a sinner and is separated from God, believes that Jesus died to save her and reconcile her to God, and accepts the saving, the sin that once defined her (let’s call it the Sin Nature) dies on the cross with Jesus. Her sins are now forgiven, and her Sin Nature is dead.
So the thing that defined who she was is now dead. Who does that make her?
I have left out a crucial piece of the story. Three days after Jesus died, He came back to life. His resurrection was the completion of the New Beginning.
Because Jesus died, the aforementioned sinner died with Him.
Because He rose, she rose with Him.
Now, not only has her Sin Nature been taken away, but she has been given a New Nature–one that is tied up with Christ and reconciled with God.
God no longer looks at her and says, “Sinner.” He looks at her and says, “Saint,” and there is no divide between them anymore.
Does she still make mistakes? Yes. Are those mistakes still sin? Yes. She’s still human. But a mistake does not make her a sinner, because her mistakes are actions. Her actions were never what made her a sinner, remember? She was a sinner because of who she was, not because of what she did.
And now, she is a Saint. A New Nature. A New Beginning.
All because of the baby boy who was born in a stable under a bright star.
Merry Christmas, everyone. Here’s to New Beginnings.