The term brings a certain comfort. To be familiar with a place, a person, or a way of doing things creates a sense of safety in knowing what to expect. As humans, we shy away from the unknown and go out of our way at times to seek the familiar.
On Christmas Day we finished the morning with advent and the last reading of Max Lucado’s book, In the Manger.
He challenged us to not become to familiar –to notice in wonderment at His glory and majesty!
It is amazing that we can live next to something for a lifetime, but unless we take time to focus on it, it doesn’t become a part of our life. Think about it. One can live near a garden and fail to focus on the splendor of the flowers. A man can spend a lifetime with a woman and never pause to look into her soul. And a person can be all that goodness calls him to be and still never see the Author of life. Have you seen Him? Have you caught a glimpse of His Majesty (Lucado, pg. 112)?
I find this very difficult to explain or share with you. Have you stepped over, seen through, or been so busy you don’t take notice? Maybe it was a shopping center that “magically” appeared, a home in your neighborhood that “popped up” all at once, or the colors of a morning drive to work. I’ve even stared into the eyes of a loved one or friend and had that moment of awe. The familiar becoming the unfamiliar. You recognize them as not their role, but as a God given gift in your life, and it seems you do not really know them at all. You are awe struck like the quiet moments of a mom nursing her child in the middle of the night. The cooing of the baby as mom and child’s eyes lock and search each other.
I am praying with the eyes wide open and prayer becomes revelation. My eyes change and he changes in them and I remember, as G. K. Chesterton observes, how ‘our perennial spiritual and psychological task to look at things familiar until they become unfamiliar again.’ The unfamiliar becomes the real and the real is only seen by the lovers, and I count him as grace, I embrace now as love, and I know how lovers alone see the true ( Voskamp, One Thousand Gifts, pg. 131).
This time of year we ponder the start of a new decade. 2020. As my youngest read the devotional on Christmas Day, I reflected on my familiar and asked God to stir me to see them as unfamiliar again. I challenged myself to take notice of my casual, familiar view of God, and what spiritual truth or wonderment can I discover? Oh Lord help me see your majesty on display all around me. Help me to slow down and to write these things down.
God reveals His joy in our lives this day. I see the tears of laughter and togetherness displayed as we tell stories and play a new board game. This moment in time with lazy muscles, third cup of coffee, and PJs brings the promise of God’s joy in our midst. Oh how we prayed for joy this day. A day that could have been different if we allowed our eyes to see what was missing and the hurt in our lives–the broken.
I see and it is unfamiliar. I’m struck with feelings of embarrassment or awkwardness. Can this be true? Joy in our midst? Love despite the brokenness? I see. All is grace. An old friend I have not seen in awhile notices and says to me at Christmas Eve service, “Maybe not this Christmas. We pray for the healing to come, Anna. Maybe another Christmas.” This releases me to worship and trust in a God who reveals His promises to me daily. I see the rainbow God–your promises revealed, and your love pouring into my soul. I notice the one star as we leave the home of family, and you remind me of the promise over 21 years ago–“Alive-God’s grace”. You see me God. You are the God that sees us. Like Hagar in the desert again and leaves that which she loves the most to die, you enter in and she rejoices in a God who sees her–knows her and provides for her. Ann Voskamp asks in her book, “Are you thirsty?” She assures the reader, there is always a well.
“Have I truly seen the One who sees me?” The well was named Beer-Iahai-roi (which means “well of the Living One who sees me”) Genesis 16: 13-14
This God who loves.
The Divine Surgeon has used it as a delicate surgical tool to restore sight. The blurriness will be focused and darkness dispersed. That the Christ will emerge from a wavy figure walking out of a desert image to become the touchable face of a best friend (Lucado, pg. 115).
I’m away with my husband for a few days until the rest of the family shows up, and we will take an adventure to ski slopes and fishing.
This getting away to the unfamiliar is a familiar place of rest and reconnection. A healing place.
I see your majesty God in the mountains, the animals and birds, the sunrise, and the rainbow across the sky. I see them with new eyes.
As we begin a new decade (2020), Lord restore our spiritual sight to 20/20.
Year 2020 with 20/20 vision of you in all things. All is grace.