One Christmas (when I was a tiny girl), I ate mistletoe. When I was even tinier, I’d throw myself over the side of my crib and cry because I couldn’t yet walk. In high school I dated someone out of a feeling of obligation and as an adult I gave plasma after being deathly ill and rear ended a car that was stopped at a light.

This is just a sampling of the stupid things I’ve done. I’ll admit I didn’t realize they were stupid at the time. They seemed to make sense. But with wisdom and years, I understand things I didn’t then and if the person I am now faced the same situation, it would be a no-brainer.

So why am I sharing my stupid moments? Because grace sets us free from the need to be perfect, let alone appear perfect. The gospel is the anecdote for perfectionism and I used to have a chronic case of it. I couldn’t tolerate my fallibility. It wasn’t until I started telling myself the truth about mistakes that I was set free. And the truth is this: Everyone makes mistakes (…we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Romans 3:23) and doing something stupid (or mean or stingy) doesn’t mean I’m a stupid (mean, stingy) person who deserves to be written off (see the parable of the lost sheep in Luke 15).

And if all this is true, our mistakes are not the end of the world. They would have been if Jesus didn’t have a rescue plan, but He did and right now we’re getting ready to celebrate the first part of the plan—Jesus coming as a baby. Because He did and later offered Himself as a sacrifice, none of our sins carry the weight they once did. So let your heart be light this Christmas season, because Jesus took your burden to be perfect all away.