I spent so much of my life thinking that I needed to make myself perfect in order to have God work in my life. Each year at this time I celebrate the day it finally sunk in that God works in the mess... The Nativity makes perfect sense to me because the God of the universe came into the mess of my life and His presence changes me to this day.
When deep in sin I would avoid confession until I had some distance from those sins. For some reason in my mind it sounded better to say, "I was willfully getting drunk for several months but I've got a handle on it and I havent done it for a few weeks." I felt this way about any number of sins and addictions. When I found myself deep in sin I would often stop praying. The thinking was, "how hypocritical for me to sit here and talk to God like I didn't just reject Him an hour ago." I thought I needed to make myself perfect in order for God to work in my life. Can you imagine the pride in thinking that? That somehow someway I could make myself fit for the King of Kings and Lord of Lords? I will never be fit for the King on my own. Nor could I prepare a place on earth that would be fit enough for Him to be born in.
It was only until I began going to confession to a priest in Buffalo named Fr. Marty that I truly understood that God was all too willing to come into the mess of my life. Fr. Marty knew well that you cannot wait for perfection before letting the Lord work in your life. After I would convict myself Fr. Marty always started with the phrase, "Well the good news is that you qualify!" Often followed up with, "The Lord came to heal sinners...". After about six months of going to him regularly my whole life switched. My imperfection became reason to run to the Lord.
Dave VanVickle is a Catholic speaker and writer focusing on the Universal Call to Holiness and Authentic Catholic Spirituality. He is currently employed as the Director of Evangelization for the parishes of the Catholic Community of Wexford, PA.