Eye Salve

I think for most parents, Christians or not, we spend a good deal of the Christmas season trying to help our children see that Christmas isn't solely a magical day where they receive unmerited gifts for absolutely no reason other than being alive. We all desperately want our children to be generous, grateful and content, yet, as we all know, this is an uphill battle once the catalogs begin to arrive in the mail and other kids start talking about their Christmas wants... in July.

Not to mention, it feels like every other adult we bump into at the store opens every conversation with my kids about their, "letter to Santa."

I understand it's all good fun... but it only contributes to the ongoing battle I feel myself fighting, of reorienting their focus.

The other day I was reading in Revelation (light Advent read) and it jumped out to me in chapter 3 verse 17, that the it was the Laodiceans' wealth and self-sufficiency that the Lord said made them blind to their need.

 "17 For you sayI am richI have prosperedand I need nothingnot realizing that you are wretchedpitiablepoorblindand naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fireso that you may be richand white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seenand salve to anoint your eyesso that you may see. "

John is encouraging the Laodiceans to SEE. To see their need, to see how they are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. 

This, of course then got me thinking about seeing. In this season of want and comparison, our sins start with our eyes... seeing the happy family on Facebook doing the advent activities, seeing the social media posts of the husband lovingly doting on his wife via an expensive gift, seeing the pregnancy announcement when our wombs are empty... again..., seeing so much happiness in a season that, perhaps for us, feels empty and lonely.

Our eyes deceive us, unless we are seeking this salve that John mentions in Revelation. It was Eve's eyes that first saw the fruit, Achan's eyes that saw the treasures in Joshua 7:19-25 that led him to covet, steal and hide. It was David's eyes that first beheld Bathsheba... leading to desire, taking, and then... hiding by way of murder. 

But 2 Corinthians 4:18 says the things we see are transient. 

The reason all of this has been on my mind, particularly in this season of Advent, is that for me personally, when I look around me I see people doing "big things." I see friends traveling, starting companies, finishing PhDs, big impressive things that I'm not doing. Living in "exciting" places (everything looks exciting on Facebook from your laundry-covered couch). I see with these deceptive eyes, I desire, I covet, and I compare. 

But... what if I am praying for the Lord to apply this salve? So that I may have "eternity stamped on my eyeballs" as Johnathan Edwards famously said. So that I may look around and seek to bring peace and beauty within my four walls, where the Lord has placed me. So that instead of seeing the "glamorous lives" of others and feeling that my own is insignificant, I can see my call, see eternally, and benefit from the fruit of that now.

Because, truthfully, what if I were to pursue grad school, the larger home, the material things that will, according to 2 Peter 3:10-14, all burn and dissolve? What if I were to do that, at the expense of what the Lord has given me? What does it matter to impress the Facebook community if my children see the fraud I am at home? Or my marriage suffers?

If I want my children to be content, grateful, generous, and kind, shouldn't I be displaying that? Where my treasure is, there my heart will be also. If I am treasuring accolades, excitement, thrills, and the adoration of others, my heart will show that in my words and actions. It will bear fruit in my marriage and my relationships with my children and others. In Matthew 6:24, Jesus warns us that we cannot serve two masters. You cannot love God while also loving the things of this world. The two are mutually exclusive. I want to love God and what He loves. I want to see all through the lens of eternity... especially during the Christmas season. 


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