Wednesday, December 10, 2014

The Christmas Viking

When Bryan was a little boy, he had an obsession with vikings. I mean, we went to Medievil times festivals, read about chain mail and swords, checked viking books out the library. He was all about the vikings. Truth be told, Bryan had MANY obsessions throughout his early years (dinosaurs, spiders, WW2, Star Wars, the digestive system to name a few!). Vikings were just one of many, but it was special because it just so happened to be his obsession during the Christmas season that year.

At church, his precious Sunday School teachers made ornaments for the kids to give to moms and dads. Using the child's thumbprint, they'd make little smiley faces, and the words "I'm thumbody special" were written across the ornament. Sweet, huh? Well, can you imagine our delight when Bryan brought home his ornament to reveal a thumb-viking? It was completed with a viking hat and sword, a true masterpiece of our son's own design. I can almost guarantee that no other child in the history of First Baptist Church, Richmond KY has ever made a viking out of their thumbprint!

Every year, as we pull out the decorations to transform our home into a Christmas land, I cannot wait to see that sweet little ornament. It gets the front of the tree every year, very near eye level for me. It takes me back to a time when there was a sweet innocence in Bryan, a time that I often mistakenly wished away because the days were long and sometimes not easy (has anyone ever told you little boys can be hard???!!) This year was no different. I rummaged through the box of wrapped ornaments, looking for that one, eager to give it its rightful place of honor. And every day, as I've walked past that tree, I find myself looking at that little thumb viking and smiling.

Today, in my quiet time with the Lord, I was reminded that He looks at me the same way.. like that sweet little thumbprint viking. He relishes me, delights in me, places me in a place of honor. The Father of all the universe smiles as He looks at me... not because I'm perfect. Just like Bryan's viking has a wonky hat and oddly-shaped extremities, I'm far from perfect myself. The sins of my life have stained me. But the blood of Jesus has washed me clean. I'm beautiful in His sight. Maybe not by worldy standards am I beautiful. You certainly won't find my face stamped across some beauty magazine, and I'll likely never be given the title "beauty queen". Yet, My Abba Father.. he calls me beautiful. And that's enough for me.

Did you know that the Father delights in you too? That the season of Christmas is proof of His delight? He gave you and me the most incredible gift of his son, God-become-flesh, to dwell among us. He gave us Emmanuel, God WITH US. What a gift that is! His delight was not just in word, but it was carried out in deed through the coming of the Messiah.

And so it is that the sweetest little Thumb viking ornament ever made is still filling my heart with joy. What a wonderful reminder as I look at it hanging there of the wondrous gift of Jesus. I hope you have a Christmas viking of your own to remind you of the same. May your Christmas season be filled with reminders and celebrations of the Messiah, Emmanuel...God with us.