Last week wasn’t the first time that I’ve learned something new–or remembered something old–because of the words or actions of a child. Usually it’s my own kids convicting me of something, perfectly reciting words I wish I never would have spoken, and holding me to things that I shouldn’t have promised. But most recently, my memory was jogged by my mesmerized and sleepy three-month old nephew whom I’ve recently had the joy of babysitting.
One morning, after breakfast was gobbled and Baby nestled safely on my lap, I watched in wonder as he watched in wonder. Surprisingly, it wasn’t Baby Einstein or our silly dog or my morning hair that had him staring, though: it was the reflection of the Christmas tree lights dancing on a black TV screen. Their pretty colors blazed brightly in the early morning, but even still, they were small and distorted against the convex screen. If he only knew that turning his head just slightly to the right would have afforded him a view much more beautiful than a dim reflection–he could have gazed at the actual tree!
I was immediately stopped in my tracks. How often don’t I settle for a watered-down substitute for something intended to be so much more beautiful? So much more authentic and whole? How often, Lord, do I miss out on what you really have in mind for me?
This Advent Season was the perfect time for Baby to remind me of this. Many of us talk about the hustle and bustle, the hurry and worry, the tinsel and wrappings–yet we–or at least I–will admit to continuing down that same worn path, staring blankly into a dim reflection on a dark screen rather than turning my head to behold something true: the manger. The Christ Child. The Reason.
11 When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. 12 Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity.[a] All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. 13 Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love. [I Cor 13:11-13, NLT, emphasis mine]
Let’s turn our heads away from all that distracts us so that love will be the source of all our light and joy this Christmas. Join me?
Yearning for the day when we will see with perfect clarity,