One of the books I’m currently reading is Donald Miller’s, Searching for God Knows What. Donald Miller gives the reader much to reflect upon, going straight to the heart with honesty and intelligence while writing in a deceptively simple but beautiful style.
I, like much of the human race, tend to be self referential in conversation and relationship but Donald Miller put this into words when he wrote of how rare a thing it is for someone to lose themselves in the presence of other human beings. Further on in the same chapter, talking again about relationship, he mentioned how we will close ourselves off at the least sign of danger. Again, I put up my hand. I don’t like it, but I admit; too often “It’s all about me.”
Recently something I had offered was not received as I expected. It would cost me something, but I thought that the person had need of what I offered; me; a gift of time.
The person’s apparently diffident response, elicited an emotional response. The need seemed to be less pressing than I thought and I felt as if my offer was not valued. Later I realized that what I read as diffidence was not; it was more complicated, as human interactions are; but this was how I felt at the time.
As I quieted my heart to pray, the feelings came back, but more than the feelings. I remembered the one who gave himself completely for me and for the world; one who stepped from eternity into the realm of time and earth.
I remembered the words from John 1:10-11, He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.
Although he was the King of kings, there was no royal welcome for him. Later, his closest friends misunderstood him and lacked a full awareness of the gift of his presence.
I am his disciple, but how easy it is to forget who it is that I am following. I follow one who was despised and rejected to the end; one who offered his followers nothing more than this, and who is recorded in Matthew 10: 24-25 to have said:
"A student is not above his teacher, nor a servant above his master. It is enough for the student to be like his teacher, and the servant like his master. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebub, how much more the members of his household!”
It has been said that God allows our hearts to be offended in order to reveal what is there. This situation revealed a heart of pride, full of self importance, quick to take offence, rather than a heart of humility.
Christ came knowing that the ones who needed him would scorn and reject him; yet he still came. He was crucified by those he came to save; and his response was love in its purest form; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.”
As I think of Jesus’ gift of self, I know that I have never come close to fully appreciating all that he gave and what it cost. To many he is not even acknowledged for who he is. Even as we celebrate his coming to earth, much can distract us from the sacred and the holy if we do not guard it, seeking it with all the diligence of the Wise Men.
So my prayer during this waiting time before Christmas is that I would fully honour him and fully appreciate his gift of salvation, expressing gratitude in word and attitude, moment by moment. And I want to warm my heart at the fire of his love.