It was a few days shy of Christmas that I ran into the craft store. Braving the traffic on the street and in the stores could have been gift enough, by my estimation, but still I scaled the aisles for my final item. As I did, I encountered a man adorned in flannel and a frown. The minute his eye caught mine, he threw his hands in the air:
“Do I look lost enough for you to help me?”
I took a step back, unsure if this was a pick-up line (you never can tell these days). But he was too evidently genuine for that to be the case.
“My wife wants pinking shears. I think they’re scissors, but do they look like regular scissors? Or are they different? And which one of these sections are they in?”
I smiled, for two reasons. One, there are still men in the world, driven purely by the love of a woman to brave the caverns of an estrogen-laden craft store the week before Christmas (while so charmingly unaware of craft terms & tools). Secondly, because he asked for help.
Men are notorious for refusing to ask for directions but I’ll admit my pride gets just as much in the way of allowing my vulnerability to show most days.
Once I steered him in the direction he sought with a full description of the goofy scissors, the phrasing of his question still lingered. Am I lost enough?
You know Christmas has been defined by several things that are far removed from the original Reason for the Season. But the basis of today is not about Whoville, Macy’s iconic Santa, or even the beauty & warmth of having the family together for the holidays. It comes down to that same strand of desperation: our need to be saved.
The problem is, several of us aren’t aware that we are in need of saving. (Worse yet, there are those of us who do but live as though we don’t.) And I say this knowing full well, that there are people who will stop listening to what I have to say after hearing such a “judgey statement”.
Pshh, ME? Need to be saved? You don’t know me, Miss Self-Righteous. What do I need saving for–or from?
Well, pride, for one. But “sin” is the general term used to cover all such evils.
We were dead in our sins. Condemned to die for the very fact that we fall short of perfection. Unable to access the perfection of heaven.
It sounds cruel, doesn’t it? (The world itself is, is it not?)
I’m not a hell, fire, & brimstones type of evangelist but let me assure you, they all exist. And that was our destiny.
It would be still if it weren’t for that baby. Who grew to be a man. God incarnate. Who walked this same Earth we do today. Every breath spent to teach, to love, to save.
Most of the contemporary world is familiar with the beauty of that 16th verse of John 3: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Christmas was–and is–for you. An invitation to know what love means. And to accept it in order to be saved.
The thing is, our lostness isn’t dependent on our awareness of it; however, our awareness dictates our ability to accept it.
So how lost are you? Lost enough to acknowledge your imperfection? The ways you fall short? The sin in your life that might have seemed so appealling initially but only leaves you emptier and emptier?
It’s not easy to be vulnerable; to examine all the ways we aren’t able. But in the same way that anything worth doing takes work, it’s worth it.
And want to hear the best part? This is a gift that does not expire. And just like that gentleman at JoAnne Fabrics, I would love to point you in the right direction to help you find what you’ve been looking for.
“And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” -1 Timothy 3:16
Thank God, for the Way, the Truth, the Life. This Christmas and everyday.