Just for once I would like to get my act together and send a proper Christmas card. You know the kind—everyone looking at the camera, smiling, wearing matching sweaters. It’s true; I’m dreaming of an unrealistic Hallmark moment.

So, when I said, “Hey! I have an idea for an adventure today!” no one looked up from their phone long enough to make eye contact. The thing is, the family does not trust me when I say “adventure” anymore—the last time I said those words, we ended up sleeping in our car behind a gas station.

True story.

I have three daughters who mock me incessantly when I pull out my camera, but spend hours crafting the perfect Tiktok dance for strangers. My idea of a family photo seemed unimportant to them.

So, I whined. I pulled out my best mama guilt, told them they were all dashing my dreams and finally just bribed them. Reluctantly, they headed out.

How I Imagined It

It was a crisp fall day. The leaves were crunching under our feet. The air was fresh. It was everything I imagined. However, they did not co-operate, the lighting was bad, and the waterfall made our hair frizzy or flat.

By now it was time for lunch, and I had become resigned to the fact that I would not capture our perfect image. At least not today.

I reconciled myself and recognized that I had lost; a decent family photo was out of my reach and beyond my control. I put my camera away.

How It Happened

Then I saw it. They were laughing, smiling, singing, throwing sticks, and not worrying about anything. When I finally stopped to recognize the way my family was enjoying each other’s company, I became present in the moment rather than searching for the perfect moment.

You can bet that I pulled out that camera again, but this time without expectation.

I present our Christmas card, friends. Perfectly weird. Just like us.

As we go into the advent season, what are you expecting? I’d like to think that Jesus came for the imperfect moments. I’ll be expecting him.