The women's choir I'm a member of, Women of Heartsong, had a Christmas party Monday night. There was fabulous food, a hysterical White Elephant Exchange, lots of laughter and fun conversation. Then the really great part happened. We stood in a circle (I think there were 20 of us) and sang for a long time. Singing Christmas Carols is one of my favorite things, and it was pretty wonderful singing with these women I've known for years. But my favorite moment, one that will be with me always, was when we joined arms and sang The Parting Glass. It was the last song of the night. It us a beautiful old Celtic song, first written down in 1615 but older than that, about the last toast of the night, or of the gathering, or of a life. The harmonies are simple but very beautiful, and the sentiment is beautiful, as well. Listening to it is great. Singing it with people you love is magical.
I notice a theme running through lots of my blogs is that nothing is perfect, but it is usually good enough. The party wasn't perfect. Wine was spilled, some notes were off on some of the songs. But that didn't matter. The circle of imperfect women made a close-to-perfect sound, and it was good enough. Looking around at the women I love, each singing their heart out and pouring out their friendship.
Yesterday we made Christmas cookies at Sally's house. It wasn't perfect. I forgot several things I was supposed to bring and Josh had to spend most of his cookie baking time at the store. We were late getting started. But those things didn't matter to me. What mattered was being with people I love who want to be together. It wasn't perfect, but it was good enough.
On Saturday the whole family (extended) will come out to Halldortown (Bob's name for our ranchette, recalling our beloved Norwegian Fjord Horse, Halldor) for a Christmas pageant. We have 9 angels, Mary and Joseph, 3 shepherds, and 3 wise guys, I mean wise men. Lots of singing, an angel's dance and a pas de deux with Katie and Daniel. No one will have their lines memorized. Without a practice, it will be a work in progress. There is a spot on one angel costume that won't come out, and the trim is coming off one of the wise man hats. The mole sauce Bob and I made yesterday could be too spicy for some. I have no doubt other unforeseen shortcomings will arise. It won't be perfect. But it will be good enough.
There was no room in the inn. Mary delivered her babe surrounded by animals. His bed was a manger. A manger sounds romantic until we remember that animals ate out of it. It was so far from perfect. But it was good enough for angels and Love incarnate.
This Christmas people will get stuck in airports. Someone will be rude to overworked retail clerks. Some lights will short out, and some trees will dry out too soon. Some cookies will crumble or be doughy inside. Some relatives will embarrass others. Some people will not be able to be with the people they love, and some people will sleep under bridges in the cold. Some people will relapse into addiction and feel the shame all over again. Some people will turn a blind eye to all the need in the world and see only their own desires.
All of us, every one us will fall short of perfect, and our Christmas will fall short, too. Except for one thing. Perfect isn't a thing that happens at Christmas or any other holy day. Not in this life. But perfect does happen in one place. In the hearts of those who choose love. In the one moment we look out, look up and away from our own self and see the wonder of the cosmos, the wonder of creation. When we consider the intricate, complicated thing that is life, and see the possibilities for our own contribution to the good. We'll have the perfect chance to do that this Christmas. And every other day, for that matter. I want to stand in the stable and play my drum. I want to sing with the angels and dance. I hope you all have that moment in your holy day. Pa rum pa pum pum.