This Imperfect Offering

Carefully I trace circles onto thick paper. Small hands with grimy fingernails eagerly take my traced shapes and worry away at them with blunt-tipped scissors.

Bible open before me, I turn thin, worn pages– point out verses to read. As wise men sought their newly born King, we seek that Name which is above all names.

Our list grows long with Bread and Light and Lamb, and then I share my marker and with fumbling hands they write, they copy.

Five-year-old hand garbles letters and words till they are nearly unrecognizable; five-year-old imagination draws letters laying eggs. Six-year-old voice reads his brother’s mistakes with derision even as his pen breaks words in unlikely places.

Oh how I long to snatch scissors away, to trim and shape. How my hands itch to at least guide the clumsily-held pen, to form neat letters perfectly spelled.

I deny myself.

I could do it all myself– trace and cut, write and glue. I could create something beautiful to intertwine with garland and lights, a lovely reminder of God with us.

But I let them do it in their imperfect, most unlovely way. These choppy circles– inscribed with misspelled names of God made man, smeared with glue, off-center– they are an offering from my sons. Each backwards letter written with care is a gentle reminder to the boy who wrote it of the Word made flesh.

This same God accepts my meager offerings– my imperfect and unlovely gifts– and uses them as they are, somehow transforming them into what is beautiful.

And in those crude circles I see traces of crude manger and crude flesh– the best we could offer to house our glorious Lord. Yet still he came, knowing how desperately we needed Him to change us.

Sometimes that which is most imperfect becomes that which is most beautiful when lit by love.


Joyfully celebrating the imperfect made lovely with Sharon at Good, True, and Beautiful today.

The idea for this garland came from The Homespun Heart.


14 thoughts on “This Imperfect Offering

  1. Mmmmm…beautiful. 🙂 BTW, I’d love to tell you not to stress about your cake, but I totally did. I totally snapped at Zachary like 50 times to leave me alone while I was frosting it, and then I’m like, “Hmmm…would he rather have a perfect cake or a nice mom?” 🙂

  2. Thank you. I struggle with a sense of perfectionism in myself, and wanting my kids to do projects perfectly, but I do try to remember that God is not looking for perfection.

    Good job encouraging your children to give their best to their Lord.

    Thank you for encouraging and reminding me!

  3. I struggle with making the girls art work perfect too! Katie is a bit of a perfectionist too so her’s is usually as tidy as she can make but sometimes Abby’s more “joyful” artwork makes me twitch! Love that idea for a Christmas craft, we are totally going to do it! 🙂 Beautiful pictures of them too bty! 🙂

  4. every time Erin… You get me every time.

    I’m moved by your beautiful words.

    THANK YOU for reminding me that it’s not about how it looks on the outside — it’s about how my heart look on the inside.

    Merry Christmas.

  5. I’m with Sharon on this one, your insights and your way of sharing them bring smiles or tears or ROFL, but they nearly always “get me.” And yes, our offerings are so meager, and so loved.

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