The Gift of Beauty and Life and Joy

“I’ve loved you the way my Father has loved me. Make yourselves at home in my love. If you keep my commands, you’ll remain intimately at home in my love. That’s what I’ve done—kept my Father’s commands and made myself at home in his love. I’ve told you these things for a purpose: that my joy might be your joy, and your joy wholly mature. This is my command: Love one another the way I loved you. This is the very best way to love.” 

Jesus – John 15:9-11

A couple of days ago Rebekah and I spent the afternoon out shopping together. We had a few specifics in mind from World Market and Home Goods, then – kind of carried along with the momentum – we hit a couple more stores before heading home.

We had a few small items to find for each other’s stockings, so we struck out independently. It may not be crazy busy this year, but there are enough people out now that in the larger department stores it can be a challenge to track one another down.

So I was wandering through the kitchen section, looking at sauté pans, when a salesperson approached me.

“Can I help you find something, sir,” she asked.

“Yes, please,” I responded without skipping a beat. “Brown hair; red jacket; about five seven. Stunningly beautiful!”

She didn’t hesitate: “A half dozen aisles that way,” she said, smiling. And you know what? She was right.

Life that communicates!

I have been wondering about what it is that makes somebody stand out. Not just beautiful, but noticeable; not just alive, but vital. And I think that the answer is “life.” It’s the same thing that lights up a room when the right person comes in. It’s the same quality that changes the nature of greetings exchanged and words spoken – especially from a pulpit.

Rebekah is animated by that kind of life, always. And it is impossible to miss.

It is, in a sense, what God is offering through Jesus at Christmastime. God wants each one of us to be inhabited by the kind of life that transforms everyone – absolutely anyone – from an ordinary human being into a life-charged child of God.

It is my belief that too many of us miss this opportunity, this beautiful gift. What I’m talking about is the invitation to be filled up with light and life. The writer of 1 Timothy describes it as “real” life: “So that they may take hold of the life that is truly life! (1 Timothy 6:19). Or, as Peterson translated Jesus in John 10:10, “Real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.”

Yes, I understand that I am likely bias. But that’s okay, seeing the beauty in those around us is one of the side benefits of being filled up with life and light and love – DEREK

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