Advent is a season of secrets. For some of us, these secrets remain forever hidden. Sure, we wake up Christmas morning to dig through stockings and open presents. We eat cinnamon rolls and all manner of Christmas goodies. But, for some of us, the real gifts are never revealed.
Gifts hidden for us since the Christ-Child gave Himself.
Gifts stored up for those who choose to believe with child-like faith in the beauty and pain of this redemption story.
I’m often one of those.
But, not this year.
This year I’m choosing to see with a new perspective. Ann Voskamp’s Advent Devotional The Greatest Gift has helped me refocus each morning and search my heart. The deep places of my heart. The places that don’t quite believe God’s promises are for me. The places that are wounded by past disappointments and disillusionments. The places that are full of self-absorption and worry. The places that don’t want to humble themselves to the place of the manger.
I’m praying for new eyes today.
“Looking comes first,” is what C. S. Lewis writes in The Great Divorce. Voskamp elaborates: “Looking comes first if you’re ever to find the life you want, if you are ever to ‘see you a king.’ Always, always – first the eyes. Joy is a function of gratitude, and gratitude is a function of perspective. You only begin to change your life when you begin to change the way you see” (p. 125).
Change the way you see…people, circumstances, provisions, the present, the past, the future.
I was struck this morning by how unwilling I’ve become to see some people with God’s grace. Instead, I’m annoyed by personality quirks and behaviors that I’ve given up trying to love. Honestly, I stare at a reflection of myself and see a self-absorbed heart that is worried about many things that are less important the people around me.
I’m worried about finances…which eventually fade away.
I’m worried about living arrangements…which don’t matter in the long run when you are blessed by family.
I’m worried about looks…which clearly don’t last.
I’m worried about how people see me…which could change at the drop of a hat.
I’m worried about “missing” this life…which sets me up to actually do just that.
This morning I spent time repenting and asking for His perspective. His Advent perspective. The perspective of a God who sent Himself to be broken by a broken humanity all out of love.
Let me close with some precious lines from this morning’s devotion:
“He [Christ] who was the most beautiful One became the most ugly…that our ugly hearts might become beautiful in the eyes of God. Who knows another love story like this? The world – it seems different these few weeks of Advent. It sees different. Each day of this Advent, we enter deeper into Him. And it’s Him who gives us His eyes to really see. To see past surfaces, to the heart of things – all the way down to love” (p. 128).