No this week’s blog post is not about my favorite soccer team, Tottenham Hotspur, and their fantastic win against West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League this weekend (even though they have now moved into third place in the league and are ahead of Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal). Nor is this post going to be about the amazing weather that we have had this Thanksgiving weekend here in eastern Pennsylvania (even though it does seem that God is up to some of his best work lately)
Instead, I turn to something far more mundane but rather important in my life. After 43 years of being able to read without help, it now seems that my eyes need some assistance. I am not sure exactly when I noticed it, but over the last few months, the words on the pages I was reading got blurrier and my eyes got tired. So off to the eye doctor I went and was prescribed a set of reading glasses. Apparently, I can still see distances just fine for now.
The first night that I came home with the glasses, I was a little nervous to use them and felt pretty strange putting them on. Then I looked at the pages in my book. What a “spec”tacular result, no pun intended. The words almost jumped off the page and reminded me of the first time I saw HDTV. The best part was that my eyes no longer got tired so quickly and I hardly noticed that an hour had passed. I now look forward to reading at night again before I go to bed as has been my habit for many years.
Being able to focus is something that does not always come easy. Most of us need some help in being able to see the reality that we face. Even as I was enjoying this Thanksgiving week, I had the privilege of seeing it through the eyes of a non American who shared the holiday with my family and I. How interesting it is when we put on another set of lenses and look at the same situation from another perspective. While I was reminiscing about how much I enjoyed this particularly non commercial holiday – no Thanksgiving presents were exchanged in my household or greeting cards sent – it was gently pointed out to me that the Black Friday is an ironically all too commercial event that seems to crowd out this holiday more and more each year.
As I was singing songs of Thanksgiving this past week and listening to stories about the pilgrims, I was also struck by how this event that we celebrate is not even seen the same way by all Americans. Many of my African American friends have had to remind me from time to time that they were not a part of that first celebration and came to America in very different circumstances. While we celebrate the friendships the pilgrims established with Native Americans that first Thanksgiving that allowed them to have the food and crops they enjoyed, many Native Americans do not view the arrival of Europeans in America as something to be so joyful about. Today we are able to celebrate the holiday as one diverse nation made up of many peoples, but we certainly all view it in different ways.
As I think about the most important person in all of history whose birth we celebrate next month, it seems that there are some really strange viewpoints that are being purported about who He was and what His birth really meant. Some see Him as a good person who brought a message of hope and peace, but was certainly something less than God. Others see Him as a divisive Jewish prophet that started a religion which has misled people for thousands of years. As I hear the cacophony of voices that try to describe who Jesus is, I am so glad that I have the lenses of God’s word to allow me to see Him for who He really is. Just like Peter, I can say with full assurance – You are the Messiah.