Picture Perfect

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” –

Matthew 8:8

Decorating for Christmas with three children is not the idyllic scene you see portrayed in the Hallmark Channel movies. The festive tunes playing in the background were interspersed with  fights over who got to hang the next ornament, the positioning of the nativity figures, and the shattering of Christmas dishes as the toddler decided to unpack that box. Between the cleaning, unpacking, decorating, and reboxing the wrappings, Christmas decorating was an all day affair. I look around and the ornaments are heavily clustered in the 6-year-old eye level area of the tree. Our nativities have Nutcrackers and Santa Pez mixed in with them. No one is going to submit my living room for any prizes or visit it on a holiday home tour.  

My very imperfect home is a reflection of the crazy people that live here. Some days that reality is easier to live with than others. Other days, I hesitate… other people’s houses are more nicely decorated, more spacious, and have less clutter. Other people won’t have a Lego village mixed in with their porcelain Christmas houses. There are a million reasons to disengage and wait for a picture perfect moment to invite people into our lives. 

In today’s Gospel, the centurion (a man of great power and influence) approaches Jesus to ask for healing for his servant. And yet in the next breath, the man pushes back when Jesus offers to go with the man and heal the servant.  “I am unworthy. My household is unworthy.” He believed in Jesus’ abilities enough to make this bold move and ask for what he needed. What had he imagined would happen… did he assume Jesus would turn him away or fail to notice him? 

How often have I continued to focus on my own shortcomings and failed to really receive Jesus’ response to me? I ask for forgiveness and then continue to view myself as a sinner. I pray for healing and then am unsure how to move forward as a whole person. “Lord, I am so unworthy, but only say the word…” 

What word of healing and hope are you waiting to hear from God?
Is there a part of your life that you are struggling to accept as less than “picture perfect”?

This post appeared on Christus Ministries blog during the First Week of Advent.

Published by jencoito

Jen Coito is a California native with diverse experience in parish, academic, and national ministry settings. She has a Masters in Pastoral Theology from Loyola Marymount University. She worked for the California Province of Jesuits for seven years promoting Christian Life Community on university campuses and other diverse ethnic settings. Jen has collaborated on the creation of formation materials, discernment tools, and small group processes that are being used around the country in Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish, and English. In 2013, Jen and Jesuit priest Fr. Tri Dinh co-founded Christus Ministries out of a desire to engage local young adults and form young-adult friendly parishes. Jen works for the Sisters of Notre Dame in California as the Associate Director of Mission Advancement. Jen, Jason, and their three children live in Southern California. You can read more of Jen's writings at www.jencoito.com.

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