Growing up here in the Ozarks, I became near-sighted at an early age. I began wearing my first pair of glasses in the 5th grade. I vividly recall those little wire frames. I hid them in my desk and only when needing to read the chalk board would I put them on, then quickly replace them back into my desk. I only began wearing them all the time when a girl sitting beside me said I looked cute in them!
The one advantage of being near-sighted was at Christmas. My Mom would string up those old-fashioned big lights of all different colors on our tree. While everyone else was asleep, I would tip-toe into the living room and sit by the propane stove. I would then turn on the Christmas lights and gaze at them while also watching the glow of the stove. Due to my extreme nearsightedness, the lights on the tree appeared richly blurred. Big puffs of color blended together to form glowing halos of beauty. I remember it as always a magical, holy moment sitting there, many times on Christmas Eve, seeing an unclear picture, mesmerized by the quiet and colorful scene.
First Corinthians 13:12 says, "For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known." As I have grown older I've experienced many moments in life where the colors have become blurred...and not always in a beautiful way.
This is a deeply fallen world. There is pain, confusion and uncertainty perhaps more now than ever before. I have dear friends who have lost loved ones recently. The holiday colors have taken on a less-clear and pain-streaked vision. It will be the ninth Christmas without my Mom, the one who strung up those old lights year after year. The pain of not having her remains deep and profound. This will also be the first Christmas without my Dad and my wife's Dad.
The first Christmas did not begin with "Silent Night," but with the cry of a baby. The baby, God with us, Emmanuel, entered our world not on a chariot, but in a humble stable. The cries of the newborn King broke into our fallen world with the understanding that life here is at times very fuzzy, confusing and hard...but even in the midst of all of this deep and profound beauty can be found in the fuzziness.
This Christmas my prayer for you is that you will embrace the beauty of living this side of total clarity. I pray that the fuzziness and pain of loss, of uncertainty, of any and all difficult circumstances, will give you a glimpse of beauty along with the pain as you trust the Master Artist of your life...who loves you from Eternity and will love you through Eternity.