The holidays are a wonderful time of year.  With opportunities to give thanks and celebrate the birth of our Savior, a chance to start fresh in a new year and special family time, there is so much to like.  As with anything else though, there are also a few things that this season brings that, personally, I do not look forward to.

At the top of the, “Things I do not look forward to” list would have to be family picture time.  Typically this comes only once per year, for which I am grateful, and precedes the sending of the Christmas Cards.  I do understand that this is one of those things in life that you must do, but that does not make it any more enjoyable.  This year family picture day came last Monday.  I would have written about it sooner, but it has taken me this long to recover.  As seen in the picture above, when you are a family of six it is not easy getting everyone to smile and look at the camera at the same time not to mention the difficulty of keeping hair in place and clothes looking good.  Were it not for large amounts of hair spray and a heavy dose of bribing, the smaller children with candy and the larger with money, we may have never pulled it off.  Thankfully though, when all was said and done, our Christmas picture will show a happy, smiling, well put together family.  We fell apart on the way back to the car but as far as anyone who only sees us once a year in the annual Christmas photo is concerned, we don’t have a care in the world.

I really am thankful for my family and appreciate the results of a well done Christmas card.  It is fun to look back at previous years and see how the kids have grown. As I was reflecting on all of this I could not help but see a spiritual application.  It is amazing how much effort is put into presenting a picture that depicts our family at its very best.  When we choose a picture to mail to our friends and family it will definitely not be the one above. It will be the one that captures us at our best.

It is amazing how often we do this in our lives.  We all have struggles and difficulties.  We all have times of discouragement and trial and yet we live and act as though it is always “Picture time.”  We work to present an image of ourselves to others that does not accurately reflect what is going on inside.  While I do not think that we need to walk around telling everyone about every trial that we have, it is good to know that we have a Heavenly Father that promises to never leave us or forsake us.  A God that knows every trial that we face and every situation that we are dealing with and wants us to cast our cares upon Him.  I am thankful that He can see past the picture that we present and meet our deepest need.

Remember, God knows you and loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.  He is not interested in the “perfect” you but in the real one.  The one behind the picture.  What a blessing it is to know that we are accepted. Funny faces, dirty clothes, out of place hair and all.