We Portlanders and Vancouverites experienced a Christmas miracle last week: the grey skies rolled away and the sun shone clear. My mom and I pulled on our walking shoes, eager to enjoy this unexpected gift of sun, and went on a leisurely neighborhood stroll.
"Look at all of the cute Christmas decorations on this house," my mom exclaimed, slowing her pace to admire the house.
There certainly were a lot of them. Too many, I thought. Too much tinsel, and too many bright colors.
"It looks pretty tacky," I flippantly responded.
My mom grew quiet.
"You miss out when you judge too quickly," she finally said. "There's a bigger picture that you don't see."
"Mmm, no, I don't think I missed anything," I responded, again carelessly.
She was quiet again before continuing. "The lady who lives there works every day for a week to get that house ready so that kids can enjoy it. She and her husband aren't able to have kids, and she told me once she hopes the neighborhood children will delight in her decorations."
Her soft words cut sharp into my careless heart, teaching it to see what she saw.
I felt shamed, overcome by the irony of my judgment. For that house's tinsel glittered cheerily and its colors shone happily to celebrate the babe whose entrance into a cold and fetid stable made him the scorn of flippant hearts, unable to see his beauty and majesty.
This celebrated boy King, he grew into a man who looked at the people society scoffed at—the beggars and prostitutes, homeless and sick—and saw valuable, beautiful souls.
This humble King, he delights in us because he sees more than our trimmings—our waning shine and fading color. He delights in the souls no one can see, and takes joy in their offerings—even when they pale next to the riches of his heaven.
And this High King who stepped down from heaven into a dirty feeding trough, he would have us delight in the offerings of the souls around us, dignifying them because we can see what others may not.