Monday, December 22, 2008

Three munchkins at a Christmas past

Yesterday in church, I sat behind a sweet, older couple. I enjoyed watching them as they showed such affection for each other. You just don't see that every day.

As the man settled into the pew in front of me, I noticed something about his shirt. It was new. Right out of the package, new!

Though an attempt had been made to iron it, you could still see the packaged creases from the folds where it resided, while it rested on the store shelf.

It was an unusual color for an older man, and quite an updated look. The thing that caught my eye, was the tag that remained.

On the back of his collar, staring me right in the face, was a 'size' tag. It read "M." It was a clear plastic, adhesive tag, that clung to the center back of his shirt.

The question nagged me. Do I tell him? I don't know this man. I thought he and his bride were visitors. I did not want to embarrass him. I decided I would not say anything.

I remember a time I wore a new sport coat to church, only to arrive home later and find a tag sewn onto the sleeve. I felt like this man might feel, when he discovered the same.

I could make justifications for telling him, and I could make them for not saying a word. It is always easier to do or say nothing.

I knew he would appreciate it on some level if I told him, but I did not want his memory of his first experience in our church to be one where he was chided for not properly preparing his clothing.

I figured the tag would come off in the laundry as it passed through.

This silly tag caused me to think on many things.

The primary was that we all show up at church wearing labels, seen and unseen.

Most of us want people to recognize them. We want to be known. Some for reasons relating to fashion, and some for reasons relating to where we are or what we do in life. Some of us go to great lengths to be recognized. Some never want to be noticed and try to fade into the general populous.

What I find especially comforting is that none of our labels matter to Jesus. He cares for us and has a purpose for each one of us, individually. It doesn't matter where we are in life, or whether or not we wear Prada or K-Mart, He loves us and wants us to bring Him glory, no matter the details.

Sometimes, we allow our labels to get in the way of who He is in our lives. A gentle nudge is usually all we need to get refocused.

I consider myself nudged!



At 7:18 PM, Blogger Sunflower7417 said...

I just finished reading your book. I believe that I was totally blessed by this amazing story of your wonderful son. May God bless your family through this holiday season.

At 4:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just for future reference, I can't speak for men, but, I think most women would want to be told, even by a stranger that something on their outfit was amiss. At least I know I would. I would be far more embarrassed to know I went the whole time at a new church with a silly label on. I might be momentarily embarrassed, but grateful in the end to remove it before too many other people saw it. I suppose that could be a lesson in all the "other" labels we put on ourselves too. Praise the Lord that he looks right pass them to our hearts.

Merry Christmas to you and your family.

Lisa Potter
Santa Cruz, CA

At 4:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i also just finished your book. The story about your son helped me realize what life is really about. Thank you!!


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