Reflection | Monday, December 24
Scripture: 1 John 3:2
“Beloved . . . it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.”
There’s a fable from India about an orphaned tiger cub who is adopted by a family of goats. They raise the tiger as one of their own — teaching him to eat grass, speak like a goat, and climb rocks for safety. But, being a tiger, these things don’t come naturally. Though the young cub is teased savagely by all of the goat children, he does his best to fit in, thinking that he’s simply an odd-looking goat. One day a majestic tiger-king appears and all of the goats scatter up the mountain in fear. All, that is, except the young tiger who is left vulnerable and fearful, unable to climb the rocks. The tiger-king asks this cub why he is acting so strangely, but all the young tiger can do is bleat anxiously and try to scuttle up the rocks. So the king carries him to a stream, stands next to the young tiger and forces him to stare deeply at their reflected images. Side by side, the cub suddenly realized who he had been all along. Lifting his head from the pool, he stood tall and breathed deeply. The creatures of the jungle then trembled at the sound of his mighty roar.
Far too easily, we settle in to being less than who the King created us to be. The writer of Ecclesiastes declares that God has “set eternity in the human heart,” and ever since the disobedience of our first ancestors, we have yearned for the paradise that was lost—the faint echoes which still resound in the chambers of our hearts. The whole mission of the church is to hold up the mirror of Jesus’ sacrifice so that you can see in yourself the reflected image of the King who searched you out while you were scuttling about lost.
In the arrival of the King, God reclaims his image in our lives. Our greatest joy will not come from trying to eke out a living by being less than who we truly are, but from discovering our true identity as children of the Father and heirs of his eternal Kingdom. We tend to look upon ourselves and see only our fears and our failures, our broken dreams, and our hangups. We will not see ourselves rightly until we see what God sees.
As you celebrate Christmas tonight and tomorrow, look closely at Jesus and trust that when the Father looks upon you, he sees the image of his beloved reflected back. The day is coming when we will see ourselves as he sees us, for “we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:18). Until that day we wait with expectancy.
Silence for Reflection
- What do you think God sees when he looks upon you? If you don’t know, spend a few moments in prayer, asking the Father to reveal to you what he sees in you.
- In what ways do you experience a longing for eternity?
- Of all the activities in which you engage, where do you sense that you are most alive? Under what circumstances do you most feel like who you are created to be?
Prayer for the Day:
Almighty God, to know you is to know eternal life and to serve you is perfect freedom. Help me to see Jesus clearly so that I may see your heart and know you. Give me eyes to see who I am, not in and of myself, but who I am in you, that I might truly experience the abundant life you offer in him.