by Kathy Lay
This Week's Verse: Eph. 1:4, “Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love.” (MSG, emphasis mine)
Every Christmas when we decorate, I let the kids put out several mixed up sets of those light-up Christmas villages, complete with little ice-skating figures, carolers, and other assorted townspeople. They cover two coffee tables with white batting for “snow” and then get busy creating their Christmas wonderlands. They love putting everything in just the right spot, not caring at all that these beat-up, hand-me-down people are dressed from different eras. Some are wearing Charles Dickens-era Victorian clothing, while others are knicker-bockered in 1940’s fashion. The Victorians also out-size their modern counterparts noticeably. And yet where cultures could clash, the Christmas spirit is written all over each face.
One particular table happens to be mere inches away from my face when I’m in my morning quiet time. I’m eye-level with a country scene that includes a train, a bridge, a barn, and an inviting white farmhouse that appears to be hosting quite a festive holiday celebration. Out in the snow-covered yard children are helping adults decorate trees, boys are sledding, and a few wild animals—such as deer and a fox—co-mingle peacefully with the humans.
Suddenly I notice a little boy in World War II-era clothes who’s fallen onto the ground. Earlier I’d seen that he was placed beside two Victorian ladies on a bench that was much too large for him. But now here he was, helpless in the snow. When I picked him up I noticed his entire bottom legs had been broken off. That’s probably why some caring little fingers had placed him on a bench with the nurturing-looking ladies to begin with.
With no legs below the knees, his condition reminded me of the village scene on the other table across the room where a woman without feet is exiting a toy shop. Fortunately for her, a large cottony snow drift had been lovingly placed around her, allowing her to remain upright.
That’s when I began to notice other imperfections among the citizens of Christmasville. A guy hanging lights on a tree is missing a hand—can you imagine hanging lights without one hand?—and yet he’s happily doing it as a little choir sings encouragement to him as he works. In fact, with the bumps and scratches accumulated through years of being played with, dropped, forgotten about, packed, and unpacked, I’d be hard-pressed to find even one perfect inhabitant. Sound familiar?
And yet not one of these people is discarded or banished to remain in their box. Each is given its own special place. Why? Because I’m not in charge of the citizens of Christmasville; my kids are. And they see each one as a valuable part of the whole scene. They even give special attention to the broken ones so they are equipped to function and contribute to the good of everyone! Within that magical world, each individual—whether broken or whole, scraped up or shiny—experiences the wonderful spirit of joyful unity and peace and love. Oh, that the spirit of God’s mercy would flow through us that way in our world!
May we, like children do, look past the imperfections of the real people in our own Christmasvilles, and be unified in the merciful love of our Savior.
Father, give us Your eyes to see the people around us who are broken. With the faith of a child, help us to obey in reaching out to them, showing them their worth to You and in You, loving them in Your Name, and empowering them to contribute to Your kingdom. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
Who comes to mind that you consider “broken”—physically, mentally, emotionally, financially, or spiritually? How can you equip them to be made whole through the love of Jesus?
Ephesians 4:16, “He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.”
1 Corinthians 15:43, “Our bodies are buried in brokenness, but they will be raised in glory. They are buried in weakness, but they will be raised in strength.”(NLT)
Jeremiah 30:17, “‘But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,’ declares the LORD, ‘because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.’”(NIV)
Matthew 15:31, “So the multitude marveled when they saw the mute speaking, the maimed made whole, the lame walking, and the blind seeing; and they glorified the God of Israel.” (NKJV)