Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Do You Know Him?

 Standing back, quietly observing from the shadows I saw the carefree, joy-filled face of a little girl transformed to one of fear and trepidation.  Her Mom had placed her on Santa's lap.  "Who is this guy?"  "Why I am so close to him? " I could see these questions as vividly as if they were cartoon bubbles above her head.  My tongue tingled as I longed to call out, "It's OK. You're safe, I promise!  If only you knew whose lap you were sitting on you would be giggling with glee."  As they posed for a family photo her face was frozen with fear, unaware of the truth ... Santa was her Dad.
Maybe you are feeling the same way about your heavenly father this Christmas Eve.  Everyone is singing "Glory to God" but a variety of disguises are keeping you from recognizing Him.
Perhaps you don't recognize him because you've never met Him.  All you know of God is a false image presented in literature, through media or from the lips and actions of others who portray the image of an angry God with a punitive spirit that causes you to run away in fear.  I was one of those kids who was terrified of Santa.  When I went to the store at Christmas my first thoughts were to plan an escape route so Santa and I did not ever have to meet face to face.  My fear overruled his giving nature.  Are you running away from God?  The message of Christmas is one of a holy God who does indeed judge sin and the penalty He required?...the life of this newborn child, His own Son.  A child who would one day grow to become a man sacrificing his life on a cruel, Roman cross for my sins and yours.    The Greatest Gift of Christmas.
Just as the little girl in our story couldn't recognize her Father because of his disguise,  God's children may fail to recognize Him as well.   A frightening medical diagnosis, children making bad decisions, a marriage that is falling apart, all of those things that terrify us can disguise the loving arms of our Heavenly Father.  In the midst of our pain we wonder, "Who is holding me?  or worse, "Is anyone holding me"?  When I shared my observations with this child's mother she remarked that her baby girl was in the safest place she could be and didn't even realize it.  The same is true for us.  Our Father has promised to NEVER leave us or forsake us.  
(Deuteronomy 31:6; Hebrews 13:5)  
Don't be fooled this Christmas, whatever the disguise that is bringing you fear be assured that the heart of love that sent His Son that first Christmas so very long ago is still beating with love for you.  Rest in God's lap knowing you are in the safest place you can be.

The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master.  (Luke 2:10-11, the Message)