Signposts: Daily Devotions

Tuesday, December 2

Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they?
—Matthew 6:26

I was in a local store the other day, and happened upon a sale—one of those 20-percent-off-everything events that brings out the bargain-hunter in everyone. The place was packed, and people were grabbing, pushing, and jostling for a place in line, for the best buy, for the thing that would be the perfect bargain under the tree.

At first I found myself falling victim to the curse as well. You know what it’s like: you walk in looking for your spouse or friend’s  present and before you know it, you have to buy something for everyone. Twenty percent off everything is too good to miss.

But as I stood there, dizzied by it all, I was struck with an incredible realization: The human element was disappearing. Things were so important in this shopping madness, that the people were fading away. As shoppers pushed, pulled, and jostled for position, those around them ceased to exist. It’s hard to be fully cognizant of a fellow human being when you're focused on what's left on the shelf.

In truth, it’s rare that we ever really pay attention to each other and see all people as a gift. We’re so enamored of things, particularly at this time of year, that we fail to consider the point of the Advent season—preparation for God with us, among us, and in each and every one of us.

As I stood in the store reflecting, I’m sure others thought I was crazy. But the realization of our intrinsic worth as God’s children made the sale seem so trivial, so meaningless, that I put down the items in my hands and walked out. I went home, waited for another time to shop, and focused instead on the love of our family. I am making that my goal for the season. This year, I want more than anything to see Christ not as a thing, but as a real person. 

Christ, one who comes in our midst simply, humbly, honestly, grant us all the will to love you, to serve you, and to know you as we see you in each other day by day. Amen.