"He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him." John 1:9-10
I think that's one of the saddest verses in the Bible.
The world that Jesus made, the world that He left heaven to die for, the ones He loved, didn't know Him.
They saw Him. They saw His light. They looked at Him with their eyes. But they never saw Him.
His creation sees Him today. But, they still don't know Him.
I know a little of the pain of being seen, and of not being known. I know the pain of loving someone so much that you would never think about not laying down your life for them, and them seeing you, but not knowing you.
I know the pain and the agony of looking into the eyes of your precious child, and him not knowing you are the one that God chose to give him life.
When I think about my pain, and the human love from which it is born, and I compare it to the pain that comes from the perfect, selfless love of Jesus, my heart breaks over the rejection He must have felt.
It breaks for the rejection He still must feel.
It was two weeks after Ethan's injury before he opened his eyes. I was standing at the foot of Ethan's bed with a nurse. The nurse, who became my friend, and a messenger of God's comfort and compassion, said "Look. His eyes are open."
The doctor in the room, a neurologist, was quick to temper the excitement and hope of the moment. "It doesn't mean anything. His eyes are open, but it doesn't mean anything. Nothing has changed."
When the doctor finished his examination and left the room, the nurse, my friend and God's comforter, took my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, "It does means something. It means that his eyes were closed, and now they are open. And that is a good thing."
It was a good thing.
But it was also a very painful thing.
When Ethan's eyes were closed, we knew he couldn't see us. No one would expect to be seen by someone whose eyes are closed. But with his eyes opened, we hoped, and expected, that he would see us. We expected him to know us like we knew him.
The feeling of not being recognized by my child was a hurt I cannot describe.
For months I would get in Ethan's face and stare into his beautiful blue-green eyes. I was determined that I was going to make him see me.
There were times when the nurses questioned if Ethan was becoming aware of his surroundings. They wondered if he was coming back. They so wanted to see a miracle. They watched as we stood in front of him. Would he track with his eyes? Would he respond to light? Was there any recognition? Just a little?
There never was.
I don't know if it was my pride, or just a mother's heart, but I always felt like if Ethan was going to know anyone, if he was going to respond to anyone, it was going to be me.
I knew him nine months before anyone else. I felt his life first. He "breathed" with me. His first heartbeat, beat inside of me. He was my baby. He would know his momma.
But he didn't.
For 4 months, he looked at me, but he didn't know me.
How long has Jesus stood in front of the very ones He created and waited to be seen? How many times has He done everything He could possibly do to make himself known? How much love has He poured out? Hasn't He given all he had to give? How much suffering did He endure to be seen? How much humiliation and scorn did He subject Himself to, just so He could give to the ones that didn't want Him? How great the hurt when His children see all He has created for them but they still don't see Him?
I wonder if I had lived when Jesus walked this earth, and if I had come face to face with Him, would I have seen Him. Would I have known Him?
Would I just have been one that was following the crowd, looking for some drama, wanting to see a few miracles here and there? Would I have been one that wore the "tee-shirt" and talked and wrote about what I had seen, only to disappear when I saw Jesus carrying His cross?
Would I have seen Him?
Would I have known Him?
It took me a long time to see Jesus. Years in Sunday School. Years teaching it. Singing in the choir. Reading Bible stories. Doing for Jesus. And I didn't see Him.
I didn't know Him.
The pain that it must have caused Him.
It's Christmas, and we Christians are sometimes angry or frustrated because people choose to say "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings" instead of "Merry Christmas."
We get angry or frustrated when atheists put up billboards mocking the Christian slogan "Jesus is the Reason for the Season." We are fed up with the use of "X-mas." E-mail after e-mail exhorts us to do something about it.
I heard someone on television last night, someone who thinks he's a comedian, making jokes about Christians wanting Christ to be remembered at Christmas. I was sickened and disgusted.
We may get angry or frustrated by what we hear and what we see at Christmas. We may feel sickened or disgusted by what others say, or don't say about our Savior and Redeemer. Our pride may rise up when we are ridiculed or not respected for our beliefs.
Jesus is Christmas. Jesus is The Celebration. Jesus is The Reason. We want to make it right and we feel helpless and defeated when we can't.
We Christians feel so much, don't we?
I think, maybe in the smallest, most human sense, I have an idea of what Jesus feels at Christmas.
What Jesus has felt since the very beginning.
The hurt of not being known, of not being seen by the very ones He created. The ones He who knew no sin, became sin for, so that they might become the righteousness of God and live forever.
Lord, keep my eyes open. Help me to know You more and more. Open the eyes of those who do not see You. Who do not know You. Open the eyes of those who ridicule You and who love your gifts and not You, The Giver. May Your Light shine bright this Christmas so the blind will see in their darkness and so that every heart will sing . . .
"Holy, holy, holy. The Lord God Almighty. Who was and is and is to come."
"You are worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for You created all things, and by Your will they exist and were created."
"You are worthy to take the scroll, and to open its seals. For You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood."
"Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing!"
"Blessing and honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb, forever and ever."
Be blessed this "Christ season" as you see and sing!
(Praises from the book of Revelation, chapter 4 and 5)