There I heard a child’s high pitched squeals of delight near the swing set. Her father was pushing her swing high into the air, and then running underneath it, just missing her descending heels as they passed over his head. She thought this was hilarious, and he kept doing it again and again. At another swing set nearby, a mother was huddled on a swing looking intensely at her phone, while her four year old child was holding the swing by himself, trying to get her attention. I watched for a few moments to see if she would look up. She did not. He kept saying hopefully “Look, Mommy, I’m flying,” even though he was clearly grounded, with no one to put him in the air. This mother was “passing over” park time with her child so she could be on her phone.
So much of life is determined by what we pass over….what we choose not to devote time or attention to. Likewise, we all know what it feels like to be passed over ourselves, being last to be chosen for kick ball, or the company promotion.
Many times we may feel that we have been passed over by God. Some of us may have survivor’s guilt, asking “Why did I survive this disease, when others did not?”
The message of the Christ child, for me, is this. We are loved. Period.
We have not been passed over, ignored by an angry or distracted God on a phone.
We have been given an incredible gift of unconditional love—so simple that it is lying in a manger, right in front of us.
Christmas for me is about this present moment. This awareness that there is so much more to life than we can ever see. That someday every tear will be dried, every slate wiped clean.
My prayer is that during this season of births and beginnings, we watch our breath crystallize in the cold air before us. And maybe we stop, look up at the night sky, and say “I see you, brilliant shining star. I will not pass this moment by, unnoticed.”
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