We started our Beautiful Offering class this past semester with an exercise. Each of us was given a small mirror and asked to write down words and phrases of what we saw there. I have to admit some of the words I wrote were not flattering—words like “average,” “inadequate,” “screw up” and “wimp.”
Then we were challenged to ask God for a different word or phrase—something He would teach us through our study of the Sermon on the Mount— something that would reveal what He saw when He looked at our faces in those mirrors.
At our Christmas party, we took the mirrors from that first class and transformed them. Making the word or phrase God gave us the focal point, we turned them into ornaments to remind us of what we had learned. Here’s my finished product hanging on our Christmas tree:
Beloved. I love that word. I love its old-timey feel. I love its meaning. More than simply loved, beloved is someone who is dearly loved, cherished, treasured, prized and valued. That word sure beats average and inadequate, doesn’t it?
But if you read the first part of the Sermon on the Mount, what we like to call the Beatitudes, you’ll see it was the average, the weak, the ordinary, the “less-thans” that Jesus picked out of the crowd and chose to bless.
Poor in spirit? You are blessed.
In mourning? You are blessed.
Meek? You are blessed.
Hungering, thirsting for something to fill your empty soul? Blessed.
Because it’s not about us somehow doing what it takes to be good enough for God’s favor. It’s about Jesus looking out on the crowd and seeing the people just as they were—poor, afflicted, in the grip of debilitating diseases, plagued by demons, helpless to save themselves—and loving them.
Loving them enough to share their humanity.
Loving them enough to die for them.
You and I—as messed-up as we may be—are His treasures, His prize, His beloved. But He doesn’t want us to stay in our messes. When we willingly offer our lives to Him, He will take us just as we are and transform us into the women He sees in the mirror—women who reflect His image to the world.
Other words emblazoned on ornaments from our class include
set apart for Him
Our prayer is that you also will see yourselves in those words as you contemplate His love this Christmas Season.