So we did it. We fell into the trend that is going around on social media and put up our Christmas tree waaaaay before it is even really the Christmas season. We normally don’t put up our tree until at least December, but people have been saying that seeing the Christmas tree brings joy to people in an otherwise not-very-joyful mood.
It was true for our kids, that’s for sure.
Granted, they’re usually in a decent mood (mostly), but something really changed with the tree up. They played more, laughed more, one of them even just sat there and watched the lights blink for like 20 minutes. And the youngest was so excited, she made up a whole song for Santa that she wanted me to record and send to him (what is even weirder about that is our kids never thought Santa was real).
She had this whole song and dance… but only for the camera. If anyone other than the camera operator was watching, she wouldn’t move and would just stand there. But when everyone left and the camera was on, she was hamming it up with the best of them.
Funny how she is a bit different depending on who is in the room with her. The tree motivated her, but the people discouraged her. It’s like the conditions needed to be perfect before she could be her true self. But I guess all of us are like that to a certain degree.
Here we are with another passage that just doesn’t sound exactly all that great, because it seems so law oriented. With Jesus talking about separating sheep and goats, and how harshly those who didn’t do all the things were treated, it sounds like a “do or else” kind of situation.
But I wonder about that. I wonder if there is more grace in this passage than it lets off. I wonder if Jesus was saying something here that we totally understand differently in our 21st Century culture and paradigms.
It’s like Jesus isn’t saying that we need to act a certain way and he’ll consider us to be sheep (which, by the way, it’s exactly a flattering term these days). Nor is Jesus say if we don’t act that certain way then we’ll be thrown in with the goats (ironically being a “goat” these days is flattering). But I think Jesus is saying that how we act should be how we act, regardless of who is in the room with us. How we treat people should be how we treat people, regardless of who those people are. Who we love should be who we love, regardless of what other people try to tell us.
And I think we separate ourselves as sheep and goats. We draw that line ourselves with our opinions and worldviews. We like to decide for ourselves who is in and who is out.
But Jesus continues to welcome. Jesus continues to invite. Jesus continues to redeem.
Just as I’ll love our daughter whether she be dancing or standing still, we are loved and forgiven by God throughout all circumstances. That is grace. Also mercy. But mostly love.
Have a great week, everyone!