First Published December 22nd, 2005
I HAD many little things to do today in preparation for Christmas. As I passed people—the cashier at the till, the guy filling up with gas, the courier at the bus stop—I felt drawn to their presence. I smiled, I said hello, I chatted with strangers. As I did, something marvelous began to happen.
Christ was looking back at me.
I could see Christ in them. Some of them, I’m sure, don’t have much to do with Jesus and religion. But that didn’t matter. I could see Christ in them. For we are all made in the image of God.
I began to understand in a much deeper way—as the stranger across the gas pump mused about the weather—how Christ loves us. As a car restorer sees beyond the rust and rot of an old 57 Chevy parked in the bush, so too does Jesus see beyond our sin. He sees the beauty of who we are. The frame is still good.
I saw that today, in the smiles, the warmth, the desire to be loved, the desire to give, the desire to receive, in the old, the young, the tired, the energetic. I saw beauty beyond the fatigue, past the impatience, shyness, sadness, lonliness. The more wounded a soul seemed, the more my heart flowed with love for that person. I was tasting—merely tasting—the immense love that Christ holds for each of us. Holds for me.
It is true: the world is suffering, even if it does not realize it. And Heaven weeps with us. But through the tears, I see a smiling Jesus… a Jesus so in love with us, that he would offer his life once more on the Cross if necessary.
Heaven is bursting with mercy for every single one of us: Liberal, Conservative; Democrat, Republican; Catholic, Protestant; atheist, agnostic; black or white…. If your heart is broken today, I want to assure you of Christ’s love for you. If you are a sinner, a very bad sinner, know that you are the one for whom this Christ Child has come. It is never too late to repent. It is never too late to begin again. Jesus loves you so much that his heart is bursting. Can you feel it now? The Kingdom of Heaven is near!
I pray you will kneel with me this Christmas beside the manger of a very tiny, harmless Baby. See His little hands. They will not harm you. See His face, gentle and peaceful. He accepts you. Now look up at the Cross. See his hands, bound and open. They will not harm you. See his face, gentle and merciful. He accepts you. At the pinnacle of mankind’s sin, when we were ignorant of Him (as at his birth) or we deliberately sinned against Him (as at His crucifixion) He never struck back. This is the Christ who leans over the world today. Stricken with grief for His lost lambs, He holds open his arms to gather every one of us.
It is time. This is to be a different Christmas for all of us. It is time. Open your heart, your tired and weary heart. Open your eyes… Jesus is looking at you. Jesus has come for you. He is the Gift waiting to be given to you again this Christmas.
Thank you God for looking at me too.