By Lydia Jentzen Will
I don’t know much about shepherding, but I do love wool.
I’ve got this little blog. Just a little space for me to talk about what God’s been teaching me, this fumbling mothering journey I’m on, and a little bit about my knitting obsession. It is something I enjoy quite a bit – the internet connecting this isolated, extroverted stay-at-home Mom with other people around the world.
Last summer, in response to a post about knitting, a note was slipped in my email inbox. Would I be interested in some yarn? Well, sure! I was unprepared for the three huge boxes of wool that landed on my doorstep a week later. Or the lovely letter of kindness from the sender. I was touched and inspired.
Last week, an acquaintance contacted me. She told me her Mother had called her up and said “I read the blog of a girl in Michigan and I want you to do something for her.” And then this friend of mine realized that she knew just who it was her Mom was talking about. A common thread neither knew they shared.
So she came in a car laden with gifts. Treats and groceries and gift cards. Yarn, yarn and more yarn. Standing in my kitchen surrounded by gifts from a stranger, I felt a sharp tug at my heart. I don’t deserve this. I can’t accept this. There are so many others who need this more than me. And yet…The note enclosed says “I hope you will accept this gift…” My heart tugs again.
It’s not about what I deserve.
I’m just here, tending my own little flock, minding my own business. Sometimes the days all mush together and I feel like life is made up of laundry and meals and clean up on repeat. Then something like this, it turns all that on it’s head. It whispers “You are seen. You are loved.” It promises that God uses normal people to be His hands and feet. Just shepherds minding their own business, becoming an extension of the heavenly host proclaiming God’s radical act of love for all of humanity.
It’s not about what I deserve.
And, most importantly, it stomps squarely on the idea of deserving anything at all.
Christmas comes to the coal-hearted, an undeserved gift from an all seeing God. The Hound of Heaven pursues the hearts of all. The marginalized and the abandoned. The outcasts and the ashamed. Those who are abused by others and those who abuse themselves. The unloved. The self-loathed. If He had waited for a perfectly good person to come along, why, Christmas would never have happened at all. But He takes it one step farther and shows the extent of His mercy. He comes to shepherds first, and shines the spotlight on a forgotten people.
There is none that can hide from His grace and mercy.
Even the college-drop-out, former teen Mom in a little house with six crazy kids and their cluttered, chaotic, crazy kind of Christmas. He comes and says “I hope you will accept this gift.” My daughter hangs gifted candy canes on our tree, humming “Gloria.” My little flock and I, we’re singing it right out.
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”