Friday, December 14, 2007

More Than Love…

There is one nightly ritual we carry on in our house that was started by Christy’s parents… that is, when we’re putting the girls in bed we always tell them, “I love you, I like you and good night.” When Christy told me about this practice from when she was a kid, I instantly thought it was very cool. I mean, everyone needs to know that they are loved, but there is also this other thing in side us that wants to know, “Does anyone like me? Does anyone think I’m cool? Would you hang out with me if you didn’t have to or if we weren’t related?” I think it’s part of what was so terrifying about choosing dodge ball teams in middle school… “What if I’m picked last?” It’s part of what it means to be accepted. It’s the reason peer pressure exists at every stage of life… we want to be loved, but when it comes down t it, we want to be liked too.

This desire to be accepted, liked and cool is such a powerful motivator. It’s the reason people do half the stuff they do. It’s the reason little kids who are funny cut up in class. It’s the reason kids form little clusters of friends and become more and more like each other over time. It’s the reason kids at the high school want the coolest phone or just have to be listening to the right music, and it doesn’t really stop with age. It’s the reason some parents push their kids so hard in sports and in school. It’s the reason some families take the vacations they do or have the kinds of cars and houses they do. There are people late in life who are still asking themselves the same questions they did in middle school gym class… “Is somebody going to pick me?”

This is one of the reasons that I love Christmas so much… if there’s one thing that the Christmas story is saying loud and clear to anyone who will open their ears and listen, it’s this: “God loves you, but guess what… He likes you too!” In Luke 2 we read about those shepherds hanging out in the fields with their sheep when suddenly everything changed… They had always been the social rejects and outcasts… the kids of guys nobody picked for dodge ball, but on this night an angel appeared out of nowhere and told them (of all people) that a Savior had been born as a baby and while they were trying to process this, the sky was rent in two as tons of angels filled their vision and shouted out, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”

This is one of my very favorite Christmas verses because God didn’t just send His Son to us as a last resort. It wasn’t some last-ditch decision that He reluctantly made against His better judgment, or simply to fulfill some covenantal obligation. This was God’s plan all along and it was the evidence of not only His great love for us, but of the fact that His favor rests upon us. It’s as if the angel’s message for them (and us) was, “Peace… chill out on all of the crazy stuff you do to get everyone to like you and think you’re cool. You see, He does like you!” It reminds me of that awesome verse in Psalm 149 that says, “Let Israel rejoice in their Maker; let the people of Zion be glad in their King. Let them praise His name with dancing and make music to Him on the tambourine and harp. For the Lord takes delight in His people…”

He loves you, He likes you and good night.

1 comment:

The Hull Munchkins said...

I remember saying that phrase so fast that you could hardly make out the words!
It is nice to know you are liked by someone. Thank goodness Jesus chooses to like us the way he did... I still can't wrap my mind around that one.
Thanks for sharing!

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