Have you every spent so much time trying to capture the perfect photo that you miss the moment? No matter how the picture looks, there are no perfect families. This Christmas don’t be distracted by your imperfections. Instead celebrate the One Perfect God who came to earth as a baby boy.Here are 7 Ways that Imperfect Families Celebrate Christmas.

1. Set up the Christmas Tree

For years my daughter Hannah got stuck with the meticulous job of stringing lights on our 9 foot tall Christmas Tree. After 5 hours of stringing lights and hanging ornaments the family cheer went out like old Christmas lights.

Praise God for coupons. On black Friday I made my way to a 50% off sale and finally invested in an artificial tree that already have the lights on it. In 3 simple steps the tree was up and decorated. We were all siting down for lunch with everything decorated with 1/3 of the effort.

I know there are some Martha Stewart’s out there – but is it really worth doing the extra things that drain family fun? NO! Go Simple.

2.Look at Christmas Lights

In Nashville we live near the Opryland Hotel. The extravagant show of lights on the outside of the building is enough to take your breath away. When you come in and see the lighted gardens, the hanging decorations, and the 100 foot trees you see the elegant fun of Christmas. This year there were Shrek Characters walking around greeting the children.

Since I had a momentous birthday this year (I turned 50), my husband took me to stay overnight at Opryland. The beauty of the lights helped ready my heart for Christmas.

3. Invite a Stranger to Share Christmas

Every year God has led us to open our home on Christmas Eve or Christmas. This year Wayne and I were eating lunch at Macaroni Grill on my birthday and I began to share with our waiter Jairus. I found out that although he had the day off on Christmas he had no where to be. He grew up Jehovah’s Witness, so he has never celebrated Christmas – at all.

So this year Jairus will be gathering around the table with us. We already have a present under our tree for him. We are expectant that as we share our imperfect lives with someone that we have just met, he may be able to encounter the One Perfect God in our home.

4. Give Gifts within your Budget

Our first Christmas as a married couple I remember pulling out the credit card and buying gifts for family members. It took us till May of that year to pay off Christmas. Oops! Not a smart idea.

Budgets allow you to be creative in giving the very best – yourself! When I was a teenager and didn’t have any money, I stayed up all night making gift certificates for my family. I gave away certificates for a homemade meal, pulling weeds, and baby sitting. That was my most memorable Christmas.

5. Watch Family Movies

You are bound to have your favorite Christmas movies. One of the classics that we enjoy is Elf! I laugh every time that Buddy sits on Bob Newhart’s lap.

One year we had a Polar Express Party for our Neighborhood. We made special gold tickets for the kids and asked them to come dressed in their pajamas. Of course our main treat was hot chocolate. Be creative! Have fun! Share the fun with others.

6. Sing Christmas Carols

Christmas Carols carry the meaning of Christmas in a song. Young and old are drawn in by the heart-warming melodies of Silent Night or Hark the Herald. We have had Christmas carols printed up and taken our small group out caroling in the neighborhood. Everyone enjoys the songs and of course we come back for hot chocolate and Christmas Cookies.

7. Tell the Christmas Story

When I was a child I loved acting out the Christmas Story. Of course I wanted to be Mary with a pillow under my nightgown.  I got to sit on my brother Mark who played the donkey. When we got a little older, as a twelve year old I read the story at my grandpa and grandma’s house. It still brings tears to my eyes to remember the specialness of being considered old enough to tell HIS story.

At last, after all the fun things that we do together as a family, we get to share the most important thing….

Our Perfect Father in heaven loved us. Even though we had made so many mistakes here on earth, he prepared a way for us to be able to be with Him for ever. He sent His only son, Jesus to be born of Mary, a young imperfect girl.

When Jesus was born, he didn’t choose a palace to be born in. He chose the most imperfect, un-sterile place to be born – a stable. YUCK! Just imagine stepping around donkey dung to lay down and give birth to your child.

When Jesus was born, he was lain in a manger. He lay in a feeding trough. A place where the animals ate.

Although Jesus was perfect, he embraced our imperfect world. He grew up in an imperfect family where Mary and Joseph made mistakes. He grew in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. Jesus gave Himself as the perfect spotless lamb for our sins. He humbled Himself and died so that we could live forever with Him.

This is the Christmas Story. As you tell the story around your imperfect table, with your imperfect family, you will host the One Perfect God who makes life possible.