While there are some things I like about Christmas, I’ve realized that what I don’t like about December is that it is the month of not enough. Not enough sunlight. Not enough time. Not enough money, Not enough family…. Maybe it’s too much family who make you feel not enough. It seems that everywhere I look I’m reminded that I’m not enough. But the ironic thing is that is the exact reason why I love December.
Some of you are shocked at the idea that December might not be the happiest season of all, and some of you know exactly how I feel. It’s the time of year that I have to come to grip with the fact that I am not enough. I’ve spent a lot of my life trying to be good enough. I got straight A’s for the first time in 2nd grade. I always tried to do the right thing…tell the truth, not steal, not kill anyone. I describe my 20s as the decade where I tried to live the best life I could that would be pleasing to God. I worked hard professionally, served in our church, tried to be the best mom I could. I went to Bible studies and prayed. Every day I laid my head on my pillow disappointed that the day was not perfect. I would analyze what went wrong and what I needed to do better. I woke up the next day hopeful that today would be the perfect. The day that I would finally be enough.
You might have guessed that by the time I hit 30, I was exhausted and still not perfect. Still not enough. I found myself depressed, and not just because it was December. I had been fired from a teaching job and was in marriage counseling every week with my husband. We were dealing with some major life issues. Life was definitely not perfect.
I was in despair because all of my efforts to be a good enough wife, a good enough mom, a good enough person, weren’t working. I had messed up, and what could God do with the mess I had made? I had to admit that I wasn’t perfect and never would be. I had to admit that everything I tried wasn’t working. I was at the end of myself.
But then God reminded me that there was a person who lived a perfect life, a person who was standing there waiting for me to accept the free gift he was offering. Basically I remembered what Christmas was all about. Christmas was when God sent his only son, not as a rich warrior king who came to judge the world, but as a poor, tiny, vulnerable baby born into questionable and difficult circumstances. This tiny not-enough baby was born into a not-enough barn where he was greeted by not-enough visitors, especially considering that he was the creator of the universe.
But the tiny baby grew into a man who was God’s only Son. He lived a perfect life, and when he died on the cross, his sacrifice was enough to cover all of my sin. When he rose from the grave, he overcame death. He became the person who made it possible for imperfect, unholy me to have a relationship with a perfect and holy God. The really good news is that he did this even while I was drowning in my not-enoughness. I didn’t have to figure it all out or make it all right before he could be in relationship with me. The Bible says in Romans 5:8, that “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, [while I was still not-enough], Christ died for us.” It goes on to say that we have been justified, made right, made enough, by his blood.
When I believe that his enoughness, covers all of my not-enoughness and accept his death on the cross as payment for all my wrong-doing, I am accepted into a new relationship with God, not as an enemy, but as a daughter. When I turn and see that the blood he shed on the cross was all I need to be righteous, then I can stop earning my way into heaven by trying to be perfect all the time. I’m even able to admit that I’m not perfect, that I am not enough. I can stop hiding and trying to be someone I’m not.
So even though December feels like the month of not-enough, the reason I love December, the reason I need December, is that Jesus Christ is enough to cover all of my unrighteousness. I know that my life would be completely different if the first Christmas never came. Because God sent his son in a not-enough package to become enough for me, I am free. I am free from death because even after I die, I will live with him forever. I am free to love other people well because I know what it is to be loved. I am free to give grace, compassion and mercy because God showed me immeasurable grace, compassion and mercy by having a relationship with me. I am free to make choices. His Spirit gives me strength to make right choices even when I don’t feel like I can. I am free to admit that I am not perfect, that I am not enough.
To me, this all sounds too good to be true. But I know it’s true because someone bigger than me outside of myself says that it’s true in the Bible. So even on the days when I don’t feel like it, I can know the Truth of God’s Word.
Do you realize that you are not enough? Do you know that you are not perfect, never have been and never will be no matter how hard you try? Do you know that God loves you even when you aren’t good enough, even when you’ve messed it up? None of us is good enough on our own merit to be in relationship with God. Some of us can look really good on the outside. We look like we are doing the right things, like we are good enough. But when I’m really honest with myself, I have to admit that there are things I think about in my heart that are wrong, imperfect and unholy. Do you have the courage to admit that?
If the answer is yes, will you choose to believe that Jesus is enough? Maybe in the season of not enough, you can confess to God that you have been trying to make yourself enough. And maybe in this season we can all find rest from our striving to be enough.
Dear Jesus, I admit that I am not enough, that I am not perfect and that I have messed it up. I believe that Jesus died on the cross for my sins and that his blood is enough to cover my sin. Thank you for your grace that will never run out. Thank you for forgiving me all my sin. Thank you for loving me so much that you made a way through the gift of your son for me to be in relationship with you. In Jesus name, Amen.