It had been a tiring but good day on Dec. 30. Sitting there on the bench, while my visiting nephew and niece were engaging at the fun train set display at the Discovery museum, I was just kind of out of it.
Earlier that day, I had been reflecting over my Christmas break thus far. I was reminded of how this break was good in terms of having family fly in to visit and having some time in Las Vegas. My brother and his family surprised my parents by flying into Las Vegas where we also met up with another family friend. It was a great surprise and all were shocked. We ate and we checked out the various hotels and the new city center. Parents enjoyed being able to play slots as well. It was very hectic and full of people. Then, after Christmas day, we all drove home to my house. So, my home was wall to wall people; but very cozy. My nephew and niece are the cutest ever. (I am biased.) Thus, my week had been very eventful and fast paced.
But again, this kind of Christmas break was more common place for my childhood as I did not grow up in a Christian home. Sad to say, I do not have many memories of celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.
So, there I was just sitting and resting when I spotted Matty. Matty was this little boy of 7 or 8 years who sat in a wheel chair near where I was sitting. It seemed that Matty probably has Cerebral Palsy and was not able to function as well in terms of moving around. In my short time of watching him and his Father, I never heard him say a word or move very much. But his eyes were on his family. As I became absorbed in his story for that moment, I began to feel really sad for him; almost pitying him. There he was sitting there, while all of the other children were running around trying to capture all of the fun and mischief. There he was not able to communicate to his family, while my nephew and niece and other children were chatting and gabbing away with their family and other kids. As I was feeling sad for Matty, I began to cry. Matty was so helpless and so fragile and vulnerable. He could do nothing by himself. His Father made sure that Matty was shuttled to and about to various displays and fun stations as he would seek to get Matty to receive the full fun experience.
It was at that moment that God confirmed in my heart that I did not need to feel sorry for Matty. But that I needed to look around to his family, esp. Matty’s Father. I was brought to mind by God how even though Matty could do nothing for his Dad, that this Dad was still pouring out patience and love to him. In that moment, I did not see helplessness per se, but I saw love flowing out. I saw the love of a Father for his son who would do everything within his power to make this a great afternoon for Matty. I also saw the trust and love that Matty had for his family, how much his family also needed Matty’s love and presence. He was a viable part of the family.
For that moment, I saw myself in Matty’s shoes or wheelchair. I am just like him, helpless in my human condition of weaknesses and sin. And yet, my Heavenly Father saw fit to make sure that he would love me no matter how I inept I was in repaying that love. That He loves me no matter how incapable I am at times of doing anything right for him. Really, that his love is not based on my actions or non actions. It simply is his love to me lived out in grace. And as Matty’s Father’s love also gave Matty dignity and the ability to love his Father back, I also relished in how Jesus gave me so much more in that while I was helpless or a sinner, God gave me dignity by dying on the cross for me in order to demonstrate his love. (Romans 5:8) Like Matty, I have so much worth from God, and thus I so long to love my Heavenly Father and others back. I so want to love him back for how he loves me first and foremost. (I John 4:10)
God also reminded me that he does not pity us in our frailty. But he actually gives us dignity and a new way of loving back with our response to him and others. God at that moment taught me again why Jesus came to be born on Christmas day. It is for people like me and Matty who are vulnerable, helpless or even at times hopeless. He came so that we could have dignity and learn the way of love…from Him and through him to others. My vulnerability is really for the way of love to be demonstrated.
I left the museum with my precious moment of Christmas. So, it was a great Christmas for me!
(Thank You, Matty!)
P.S. Since that time, I have had more thoughts on this. I think I cried because I am not comfortable with Matty or my own vulnerability. If I could have it my way, I rather not be fragile or vulnerable. It is scary and it is out of control as others can have power to help or hurt you. The Lord has been teaching me that vulnerability that seems most fearful can actually be a blessing for when God’s love can flow through supernaturally.
Jan 1: Sitting with a friend of mine who is a survivor of breast cancer, I learn so much about this way of love. My friend lives in fear of her cancer coming back and the potential of early death. She has never felt as vulnerable as she does today. Yet, in those moments of fear and panic, she is learning to lean into God and his love.
It is the way of love and it is the way the Father has carried her this past year. I cried with her, too.
For the way to learning about love is through her vulnerable state. I wish it was a different story. But it is actually the Christmas story in her life. (I love my friend and how like Matty, her vulnerability has taught me to receive love and to love.) It is the Christmas story in my life, too.