Like most women, I suppose, I have a bad habit of standing before the mirror and criticizing everything I can find. This morning, I unintentionally made an exception. I saw, unmistakably present up high on my forehead, an age spot. An age spot. And my heart thrilled.
I laughed when I realized the absurdity of my response, but there it was, as evident as my age spot - what I was feeling was happiness, plain and simple.
You see, when I was young, my heart was knit tight into the heart of a very kind, very loving, impossibly dear old man. He was thin and had a hookish nose, and yes - his hands and face were generously covered in age spots.
I can't see him as anything other than beautiful. So when I see myself starting to look like him, even a little bit, I'm glad.
It's love ... love makes all the difference. Love has this way of making everything beautiful.
I pulled out my photo album and tried to see if my Grampie was actually a handsome man - if perhaps those age spots were distinguished, well-placed, artistic. I couldn't tell. I couldn't see anything but how wonderful he was. But I suspect that someone who didn't know him might not think his photos to be anything extraordinary.
I think the traditions of Christmas are kind of like a photo album.
To someone looking on, someone who doesn't know Jesus, the whole thing must seem a bit silly. Excessive, even. A month of counting down, to a day that likely wasn't the actual day of His birth, with candles and nativity scenes? Sunday school plays and the same boring hymns, year after year?
But for those of us who know His love, Christmas is warmer and brighter than sun-soaked August. We love to turn back the pages, again and again, to see His face.
The Christmas story? We don't just see a poor family with a baby sleeping in a manger. We see glorious God, making Himself humble, coming to take our place. We see love ... and love has a way of making everything beautiful.