Seeing God In Others

….you did not recognize the time of God’s coming to you.     Luke 19:44
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Zachary and Mason

     We recently started visiting a local nursing home with a group of other moms and kids through a program called MOSAIC Kids.  The idea is to teach our children that they can be the solution to so many of the world’s problems by being God’s little hands and feet on earth.  Visiting the residents and playing musical instruments and games with them each month teaches our kids to share their time and talents to bring joy and companionship to people who might otherwise be lonely or sad.

     After each visit, each of us moms gets a list of Questions For Reflection to discuss with our kids on the ride home, at dinner, or at bedtime that night.  Asking our kids to put their thoughts into words helps them further process the experience.
     After the first visit, I sat with my kids at dinner and asked them some of the questions.  When I asked them if they saw Jesus in anyone that afternoon, I thought for sure they’d either be clueless about what I meant, or say they saw Him in one of the little nuns that we visited.  Instead, I was blown away by Mason’s answer.

     Mason got all choked up and said, “I saw Jesus in Zachary.”  He went on to talk about his friend, while fighting back tears, “I was nervous around the old people.  I don’t think he knew it, but Zachary calmed me down.”
     I’ve always known that Mason has a sensitive soul.  But I didn’t realize that extended to his sight as well.  It takes a certain kind of vision to see God in others.  That vision requires looking beyond the surface, even beyond the heart.  To see God in others you have to look directly into the other person’s soul, where God resides.
     I don’t think Mason has to practice seeing like this.  It’s just how he’s hardwired.  He readily sees the good in others and can connect deeply and quickly.
     I too tend to see the good in others, but my search usually ends there.  Life is busy.  My own baggage clouds my vision.  And it doesn’t really occur to me to look deeper to see God in others.  Sure, I’ve connected deeply with other moms when I’m on retreat or during Faith Sharing at a spiritual gathering.  But that’s because it’s expected in those venues.  Take me out of those spiritual gatherings, and I move too fast, I’m too distracted, and I put people in boxes, limiting my ability to see beyond how I’ve categorized them.  But based on Mason’s experience, I’m wondering what life would be like if I looked harder, looked deeper, especially now that it is Advent.
     Our Bishop has asked us to do things differently this year.  Typically, we put our nativity sets out, yet hide Baby Jesus away until Christmas morning.  Now we are being asked to put Baby Jesus out and visible every day of Advent.  If we put that precious infant right in the middle of our work spaces, we can’t help but see Him and remember that He is the reason for the season.
12 3 15 013 with word overlay     I am going to try to combine both approaches: the Bishop’s and Mason’s.  I made an Advent wreath with Baby Jesus in the center.  I put it on my middle island.  As a mom, I live my life in that spot: overseeing homework, serving meals and snacks, and doing a million other mommy things.  In fact, I’ve nicknamed that space “Command Central,” and have worn through the polyurethane on the hardwood floor by literally standing in the same spot for years!  My hope is that putting Baby Jesus front and center will remind and inspire me to look deeper, to search for Him in everyone I see this Christmas season.
     Although Mason was completely confused as to why he got choked up while answering the Question for Reflection, I know why.  When you do manage to see the face of God, the experience cracks you wide open.  Grace wells up and spills out and over, through tears in your eyes.  That’s what I want this Christmas: eyes that are seeking, and a soul that finds Him in everyone.
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12 thoughts on “Seeing God In Others

  1. How amazing is that! I do love those questions about seeing God in others or if you think someone saw God in you. Mason and Zachary are such good friends, it’s not surprising that Zach was the source of comfort for Mason. What is amazing is that Mason saw God in him. I love both of them. Such good boys!!

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  2. Thank you so much for this, Claire! I often feel that in certain settings (especially when I am the person leading a reflection), it is easy to see things in a positive way and “go deep”… but when I go back to the “real world” it’s like I’m a totally different person. I continue to struggle bringing these two worlds together and it is reassuring to know I’m not the only person who experiences this. I also really like the visual representation of Christ at the center of our lives!

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    • It helps me too, Kristin, to know that I am not alone in this. I suppose we’re all works in progress. And I think it is Lysa Terkhurst who says, even if our progress is “imperfect,” at least it’s progress!

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  3. It is so nice that he has such a great friend in Zachary and about visiting the nursing home. I am sure the residents enjoyed the two of them. It sounds like they truly emitted the Christmas spirit. Enjoyed reading this one.

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