We are still in Re-Run summer. This originally printed on December 17, 2015 — smack dab in the middle of Advent — and so it references Christmas Day.
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“Where did they put my detergent!” I fume at the shelf stockers at the store. “Why are they always moving it?!”
Only, they didn’t move it — of course. It is right there staring me in the face. The reason I couldn’t see it was because the manufacturers changed the packaging! I was looking for orange with blue lettering. Now it is white with orange and blue lettering.
That happens a lot in life, I think. Not just with packaging, but with all sorts of things. We have a particular gift in our head for someone and we miss the perfect gift because our eyes are peeled for what we have in mind. We miss people we see on the street because they are “out of context.”
The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.John 1:9-10
As we approach Christmas Day, it is a good time to reflect on this God who comes as a baby human. You know, it doesn’t make sense to a lot of people — because the God they are looking for is mighty and omnipotent. Babies are not that.
But it is not just other people. It is you and I who have particular ways we are looking for God to show up. We have particular outcomes for which we are praying. We have particular beliefs that everyone ought to fit into — including God.
Into all of this, God comes to us. Sometimes wrapped in swaddling clothes. And sometimes in the cranky neighbor who is giving us the opportunity to practice love. And yes, God is not always easy for us to recognize because we are looking for our own version of what God looks like.
So, this Christmas, this unlikely baby-God comes to expand your sight. The Christ child asks you to slow down and really look. God comes in all sorts of ways — and sometimes in order to find what we are looking for we need to slow down and see.