I strung the Christmas lights in the rain. In the dark. Strung might be a strong word for what amounted to wrapping four strands of lights around our stair railings. When I stepped back to check out my work, my son called the finished product “chaotic.”

But God’s been teaching me about enough this year. Enough, as in “not perfect”.

Good Enough.

Bright Enough.

Done Enough.

Enough doesn’t come easily to me. I don’t like enough. I like perfect. I like a clean living room and beautiful cookies. I like packages tied up in string and snowflakes and mittens because these are a few of my favorite things except that my living room has two sick children and various medicines and drinks scattered around it. The cookies aren’t beautiful because kids actually like to make cookies and they don’t turn out like the magazines. And there aren’t any snowflakes and even if there were, I wouldn’t be able to find two matching mittens for anyone.

There’s not that many Christmas songs about that reality–my reality, and I bet yours too.

But sometimes enough has to be, well, enough. I couldn’t find the Christmas candles for the windows this year, so those four strands of lights, when I remember to turn them on, light up about 10 feet of our house.

I didn’t get to the Christmas card this year, either. The thought of all those steps–pictures and labels and stamps and the addresses–I just couldn’t find the energy to do it.

I wanted to do an advent devotional every night this year. We’ve done it three times. We did a dramatic reading of the first 20 verses of Luke. We didn’t get any further.

All of these are experiences can make me feel “not good enough” or I can put my own foot down on my own perspective and say,  ENOUGH.

Enough says I will NOT lament my ten feet of chaotic light strands. I’ll just enjoy the light they bring.

Enough says the Christmas card can be next year, because I really just want to make dinner, snuggle with the little one and watch Home Alone for the fifteenth time. I can decide, “this is good enough.”

Enough is always the answer for the things of this world that we try to manage, create and control. We are finite and limited and bump up again our own enoughs but instead of pressing beyond our own limits and pretending that perfection is not only possible but desirable, we can stop. We are, in fact, human. And limited.

But Jesus told Paul, when he faced his weaknesses: “My grace is sufficient for you.”

Perhaps there is a message for all of us in our need to say enough. Perhaps we are reminded that God brought his perfect son to break into this ordinary world, to live a humble life, die a sacrificial death and usher in the most improbable and unbelievable revolution of love that the universe has ever seen. In our ordinary bumps and falls, in our limits and in our fragility, Christmas is like God’s way of saying “I know. But I’ve got a plan. I’ll be more than enough.”

From one imperfect person to another, from one desperate-grace-receiver to another, I wish you a Merry Christmas full of ordinary moments, imperfect memories and the joy and wonder of the freedom that grace gives us to declare enough.


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  1. Tori

    December 19th, 2014 at 8:20 PM

    Thank you so much for this post. Feeling “not good enough” has certainly been a theme in my life lately; some days more so than others and this holiday season has felt hard for me in a way that it hasn’t before. I’m going to hold onto your quote about Christmas being like God saying, “I know. But I’ve got a plan. I’ll be more than enough.” I needed to read that today. I also completely appreciate your experience with Christmas lights. It was very apparent for me that being 4’11” is definitely a disadvantage when trying to hang Christmas lights. However, I’m very proud of the one lit tree in my yard! Merry Christmas to you and thank you for all you do at Hope! I so appreciate you!

  2. Nicole Unice

    December 19th, 2014 at 8:49 PM

    that’s right! That one tree is enough. What a gift it is to know that God is so much more than enough that our limited, fragile, puny offering is still worthy of his love.

  3. Judy Read

    December 19th, 2014 at 11:44 PM

    Oh Nicole! Thank you for posting this and I’m so very sorry about your kiddos being sick!! This year I tried to be more mindful and NOT overextend myself emotionally and physically this Christmas Season. That meant less decorating around the house, less baking for people but in the end meant more quality time with my family. I kept going back and forth thinking, am I being a Scrooge by not doing all the “festive” things I see all around me? Your post puts my mind at ease….that I AM ENOUGH. Thank you thank you thank you.

  4. Wendy

    December 20th, 2014 at 12:57 AM

    Nicole, such a beautiful post and such truth. Totally raised my hand on the need for perfection. For me: Letting go of “Norman Rockwell” moments, which in our household translates into “Griswold” moments gone awry. Enough: Basking in the presence and light of God, which fills my hungry soul. Letting go of exhausting high expectations of myself and my family, which leave us all depleted(christmas cards, forced family devotions, joyous teens who want to sit around the Christmas tree singing carols – okay, I made that one up for effect). Enough – Staying Fully Present with my husband and my children and Embracing the moment, whatever it might be. Enough – God – my cup runneth over.
    Christmas blessings to you and your sweet family.

  5. Lisa

    December 21st, 2014 at 3:16 AM

    I love this post. All the lights I managed this year were the one’s in the windows. Usually we have lots of white lights and a garland hung with the lights on our front porch. Not this year. I actually chose Thanksgiving weekend to make it a simpler Christmas. I admit I miss the lights every time I drive in our house at night. But I have enjoyed some space to just be with friends and family, some space to really ponder Christmas. Enough-that is a great work for me this Christmas week. Glad to share bits of life with you!

  6. Trudy

    December 2nd, 2015 at 4:49 AM

    Thank you so much for sharing. I am determined to have a simple peaceful Christmas this year and I have already blown it a few times with my perfectionism. I needed this encouragement tonight.