It’s that time again. You know—the most wonderful time of the year—Christmas! Full of family, shopping, laughter, and parties. Can you believe this season has come around so quickly? Although it is such a beautiful time of the year, let’s be honest. It’s also a time when often we feel overwhelmed. But I want to encourage you with the news that a simple change of perspective this season can add peace and joy! Let me share a story.
It was 3:00pm, already time to pick the kids up from school. One by one, they piled in the minivan. My daughter, Abbi, sat down and proceeded to tell me (yet again) that she struggled to see the board in school. I had already asked the teacher to move her to the front row as she was so tiny I figured she couldn’t see over the other kids. This time I thought we should get her eyes tested.
Down to the optometrist we headed, where it was revealed: Abbi needed glasses. The doctor then told me her eyesight was quite bad. He actually couldn’t believe she had gone so long without glasses. Abbi was 11! I felt terrible, mother of the year right here. When we picked up her new spectacles, I realized my poor Abbi had literally viewed her world for the last 11 years as a big blur. As she walked out of the clinic, she just couldn’t believe there were leaves on the trees. She saw birds in the sky. The whole world had just become a whole lot clearer for Abbi. She still talks about her pre-glasses memories being fuzzy, again in a literal sense, and how defining that moment of new sight had become for her.
I often ponder on this story (could be a bit of mom guilt) with Abbi. I ask her how she was able to somehow function with such poor eyesight. It was her normal—it was all she knew.
This story makes me wonder: How often do we, especially in this Christmas season, see the world and people in our lives through a distorted lens? The world is full of sin, hurt, and brokenness. Our own brokenness and pain shape how we see others and the world around us. And unfortunately, the Christmas season is usually a time when some problems are even more magnified.
What if we started seeing life the way Jesus sees it? What if we decided to see the world and the people in our lives through the eyes of His grace? This holiday season, I challenge you not to view this world through a distorted lens with impaired vision. Instead, see as God calls us to see.
Don’t shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that’s where the action is. See things from his perspective. Colossians 3:2 MSG
Our lives are altered when we’re able to acknowledge when we’re seeing through the lens of what the Bible calls the flesh. Our flesh is what represents the sinful, envious, bitter, hurt, far-from-God aspects of humankind. The flesh, not God’s Spirit and His freedom is what our enemy wants us to continue to view our lives through. The enemy is the master at creating further distorted views. Especially in times when peace and joy should reign in our hearts.
There are so many things we would see differently if we viewed life with a change of perspective—God’s perspective. But mainly, we would see the hurt, both the hurt of others and our own, through a new lens.
During the holiday season, there is so much going on in the lives of the people around us. Whether with our family gatherings, fighting for a parking spot at the mall, waiting in line to check out with our gifts, or at various Christmas parties, we can easily become offended, hurt, or defensive if we’re treated poorly or the people around us have hurt us in some way or another.
This year, let God give you a change of perspective to let you see through the lens of grace. It might look like this: Maybe you decide to believe the person who hurt you didn’t know any better. Maybe you realize they’re hurting and are going through some difficult situations or a traumatic past. Maybe you give them grace because they’ve just had a really bad day. Follow Jesus’ example. Even when people hurt Him intentionally with angry hearts at His crucifixion, He prayed: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Jesus showed us the perfect example of choosing to see others with grace.
This Christmas season, be reminded of the great gift of grace and love God has shown us. He forgives us and calls us His own, no matter what kind of mistakes we’ve made. Once we understand and fathom this perfect gift, putting on our “glasses of grace” becomes a whole lot easier because we’ve experienced first-hand what perfect grace truly feels like.
For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. John 1:16 ESV