With the Christmas season upon us, it’s natural that I reflect on what the festival means to me. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know that I don’t really do all the celebratory stuff. We keep Christmas simple. This year it’s even more relevant that we have a meaningful celebration of the Emmanuel (God with us) and reflect on how we can channel God with skin!
God With Skin!
I read this cute little story in the humor column of a magazine that made me smile and reflect too.
Our 6-year old granddaughter Shirley was troubled with nightmares on an overnight visit. Each time, my wife went in and comforted her. Finally, we suggested Shirley might feel better if she prayed. “Grandma, I love God a lot,” Shirley said, “but right now I need someone with skin.”
Cute, isn’t it? But the way I see, there is also a powerful lesson in it. Too often, I think we try to spiritualise things – especially other people’s problems. They come to us to be listened to, to be encouraged, to be supported and we pack them off with a ‘You need to pray about that’ or a ‘I’ll pray for you.’ People need more than that. They need to know that you’ll ‘be’ with them. Most often, our best experiences of God come through the love and acceptance we receive from others.
Will You Channel God with skin?
Here’s another story that’s been told many times over, but it never fails to touch me. Pardon me for the paraphrase, but this is how it goes:
A statue of Christ was damaged during the war. When the priest and the people tried to put it together again, they found the hands and feet missing. Instead of getting it fixed, the priest decided to put the words of Teresa of Avila at the bottom of the statue:
Christ has no body now on earth but yours,
no feet but yours, no hands but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ is to look out on a hurting world.
Yours are the feet with which he is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which he is to bless all now.
What I Want For Christmas
What I want for Christmas this year to try harder to be present to other people and to allow them to experience ‘God with skin’ through me.
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