My son teaches me a lot about my walk with Christ. And this year he has taught me about 20/20 vision. Is it just my him, or when you ask your child to get something (like the shoes that are right in front of them) they say “I couldn’t see them!” Sometimes I think his vision is less than 20/20.
My son is famous for this. Missing it. Missing what is right in front of him. Maybe he is too distracted by everything else going on, but sometimes he is just really good at not seeing what is right in front of him.
And do you know what I am really good at? Let me give you a minute to guess. Because it is really similar to Charlie, and to what the followers of Jesus were really good at.
Martha missed it when she was concerned with getting things done.
The early disciples of Jesus missed it when they were concerned with the fact that even demons obeyed them.
Peter missed it when he was concerned about the destiny of “the one that Jesus loves”.
Mary missed it when Lazarus had died, and she was mad that Jesus hadn’t been there.
Thomas missed it when he didn’t believe that Jesus was indeed alive.
So what are they really good at? And what am I really good at?
Missing the point. Sometimes they missed it because they wanted to get things done. Other times they missed it because they were more concerned about someone else. And then there are the times that they were concerned about the things they had done. Basically, they weren’t seeing clearly what was in front of them.
Does this sound like you?
Honestly, this sounds like me a lot of the time.
Everyone joked about 2020 at the beginning of the year, and how 2020 is like perfect vision, but I will tell you that sometimes my vision wasn’t so clear this year. In truth I walked into 2020 with my vision really clouded. It was clouded by doubt, and insecurity, and lack of faith, and the desire to please man above God. Everything seemed uncertain. And by the way, this was before the pandemic hit!
I could tell you time and time again stories of missing what was what in front of me (or was dangerously close to doing so). But there are also times that I saw things really clearly. And I almost missed what was right in front of me leading up to Christmas Eve.
We usually get together with my aunts and uncles on my dad’s side of the family (usually around 30 people of ages 1-80 something). We have done it for 38 years, and I don’t even know how many years this had been going on before I was born. And you have your favorite traditions in that, like my aunt making deviled eggs, and tuna mac salad. My brother usually makes an amazing ham, one of my cousins brings shrimp cocktail. My other cousin and I dress up in pretty dresses, with heels that are usually too high. People stay too late, and the children go to bed too late.
This wasn’t going to happen this year. I was preparing for a night in, maybe cooking a nice dinner, sitting around the tree, and watching a Christmas movie.
But God had something more.
But sometimes God will allow you to walk through times that defy tradition to give you opportunity.
There is a mom and her 2 children that live on the same block as us. Her kids are the same age as mine. We got to talking about Christmas Eve and how both of our plans were not happening because of just how things are going now.
Somehow we decided to have Christmas Eve together, have a fire in our fire pit, make s’mores and eat too many Christmas cookies. It would be simple, but a way to let us all have some joy. It would be safe, and outside.
In truth, this was not what I would have chosen for myself a year ago. Giving up getting dressed up and pretty, in exchange for warm clothes around a campfire would have never been my plan for Christmas Eve.
And I will be honest and say that being in the “Christmas spirit” wasn’t easy this year. I remember walking into stores and just not wanting to buy any gifts because I just didn’t feel like it. In the season we are in, the thought of someone not liking a gift had me more on the side of just not wanting to get anything.
But something about this simple safe gathering, felt good, like something to look forward to.
And when I woke up Christmas Eve morning, I was calling my dad to see if he would be willing to be Santa and give the kids gifts, to help bring joy to their lives. I was out at the stores buying presents that Santa would give out (and we had to be really stern with our kids and tell them not to spill the beans that this wasn’t REALLY Santa!) I was making deviled eggs so that this evening held a piece of tradition.
And you what happened. The kids ran around with joy. They took out their sleds and pulled each other around in the little snow that was left in the front yard. My husband lead a game of Mr. Fox. They ran down the road with excitement and joy when they saw Santa coming.
And halfway through the night, the mom asked about our “religion”, and that led to her saying that she needed something and that I was the second person in a week to invite her to our church.
I almost missed it. I almost missed it like Charlie missed what is right in front of him, and like the followers of Jesus.
So how do we get 20/20 vision? How do we not miss what is in front of us?
We can learn how to see clearly by looking at scripture, and seeing how Jesus responds to those who don’t seem to have 20/20 vision and seem to “miss it”.
Jesus responds to Martha by commending Mary for sitting at His feet.
He tells His followers not to rejoice that the spirits submit to them, but to rejoice that their names were written in heaven.
He told Peter what HE must do. “You must follow me.”, and told Mary “Did I not tell you that if you just believed, you would see the glory of God?”
What does this mean for us? How can we see clearly with 20/20 vision?
We sit at His feet, before wanting to get things done. Our heart must remain grateful for what He did for us, and that our names are written in heaven. We focus on His call on our life, and follow Him as He tells us to follow. We just believe that His word is true, when it is spoken. And when we see that Jesus is truly who He says He is, we fall back at His feet in worship, just as Thomas did.
So here is my prayer in the coming year, that I don’t limit God because of my disappointments. That I have 20/20 vision. That I see what is right in front of me, and not let my vision be clouded by disappointments, fears, insecurities, and the things I “should” be doing. Because I want to see clearly exactly what God has in front of me.
And I want the same for you.