Celebrating Imperfection

Celebrating Imperfection

It’s December. A new year is nearly upon us, a raft of holidays and celebrations of all types is bearing us on a somewhat choppy sea of shopping and excursions and meals and families and desires and obligations. I’m uncertain if that’s the proper way to use the phrase “a raft of [something]” but I’m running with it.

Because I’m going to tell you something else, friends. It is December and holidays and celebration and complication AND for me? It is nearing the end of my first full semester of seminary. Currently I need to draft two papers on a passel (is that like a raft? No, the dictionary assures me a “passel” is a “group of indeterminate number” based on an archaic pronunciation of “parcel.” It is not any sort of boat.) of intense theological and philosophical treatises. Nothing stands between me and the completion of this first semester other than some time…and actually having finished the reading.

I share this because this is the third draft of what should be a short and joyful reflection. Short and joyful reflections are the sort of thing I can often put together in the time it takes some folks to write their grocery list. But right now? My first draft cited Jesuit authorities on the proper colors for Catholic vestments in the season of Advent. My second draft started with John Denver and then took a surprisingly dark turn.

They grew out of the same place: Currently we are in the middle of the third week of Advent, and our Christian siblings are lighting a special pink candle in their Advent wreaths at night. On Wednesday evening of this week our Jewish siblings will bring this year’s celebration of Hanukkah to a close. On Thursday of this week our siblings who celebrate an Earth-based spirituality will celebrate the Solstice and the return of sunlight to our days, a minute or so at a time.

So many of us take time out to celebrate, worship, welcome, and praise light and joy at this time of year. We also take on the burdens of all the shopping and excursions and meals and families and desires and obligations. We also have school. We also have work. We also have relationships to maintain. We also struggle, have friends who are struggling. We also have a larger world we are both trying to contain and address and are tempted to ignore.

Rather than wrap this up in a neat package with a platitude atop it like a tidy bow, I will in fact leave it like it is. There is no perfection here, not in me or in this season. My fond holiday wish for all of you is that you cease to search for perfection and instead have a peaceful journey on that little raft bearing you across these waters.

Thank you, fellow journeyers.


  1. Norman Hazzard

    Thank you, Jen, for such a candid assessment of your experience during this busy season! I’m sure we can all identify with it! Thanks again for telling us about it.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *