Imperfect and dearly loved

But God’s Son became human  Dec 6, 2021

John 1:14 So the Word of God became a human being and lived among us full of grace and truth.

Did you play freeze tag when you were a child? When someone yells “Freeze!” you have to hold your position until the person touches you—like Aslan breathing life back into the creatures the witch had turned into statues in Prince Caspian.

I thought of that when our son Dan and April showed us their “official” wedding photos when they were here for Thanksgiving. Each one froze a moment in time. Because I was there, the photo evoked for me what was happening outside the view of the camera, and what took place just before and just after a given shot. This picture, for example:

I love Brian’s arm over Dan’s shoulder and Dave’s around April. I bet Caleb is thinking about how the photographer’s camera works.

Moments before the photographer called for us, the kids were chasing each other and our granddog, June. They weren’t thrilled to be confined to the arms of their parents, told to be still, look at the camera and smile. The moment they were released they smiled! June appears in photos taken prior to and after this one, so I don’t know where she was when this one was snapped. All around us people were gathering for the wedding, the musicians preparing, the ushers passing out bulletins. You wouldn’t know from this photo that many of the guests came dressed to fit the Lord of the Rings theme, a large number of them wearing elf ears.

John captured a moment of time in these few words, The Word of God became a human being. His masterful summation of Jesus’ life as “full of grace and truth,” doesn’t tell us the details of Jesus love and service and sacrifice. John tries to make up for it in his ensuing chapters, but finally concludes, Jesus also did many other things. If they were all written down, I suppose the whole world could not contain the books that would be written (John 21:25). Knowing him will take us eternity. John’s snapshot does tell us we want to know him.

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but even a thousand words is not enough to contain and adequately describe even one scene, one person.

I love as I look at this photo that Lili’s fancy dress is bunched up and the kids are not smiling, and Dave forgot to button his suitcoat and Talita is in the middle of saying something with her hands. It feels more like a picture of life than a perfectly framed and executed photo would, with everyone’s smiles in place and no clues to what’s going on in their thoughts and emotions.

Life isn’t perfect—have you noticed that? It’s messy, and emotional, and unpredictable, and sometimes tragic, often difficult, yet full of joyful moments and gifts we might miss if we’re not paying attention. That’s the world Jesus chose to become part of, the world he loves, with all its foibles and flaws. The choice we celebrate through Advent and Christmas while we anticipate his coming again.

4 thoughts on “Imperfect and dearly loved

  1. I love the titile, “Imperfect and DearlyLloved” and your observations are priceless, Debbie. What a beautiful and authentic portrait of a precious and joy-filled family memory. I can think of many Christmas photos overseas where the one we chose was #36A on the role of film!! How insane trying to get the perfect picture! That is surely not representative of real life or relationships. I think it’s great the none of the grandkids are smiling!! They are all adorable and you and David look filled with pride and love. Too bad June was not captrued on film!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely tension between snapshots and real life. Both add immeasurably to the other. My earliest memories are largely connected to pictures taken when I was little. My screen-saver shows me pictures from the past, regularly evoking memories, smiles and gratitude. At the same time as pictures are worth a thousand words, real life is sometimes worth 1000 pictures. In that sense, Jesus blew all the Old Testament pictures of God out of the water by appearing in real life. Of course, some people were happier with their pictures than they were with Him! And that problem continues to this very day. May we truly find Him in the midst of all the pictures we’ve taken of Him and all the pictures that will show up in this Christmas season!

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