Have you ever encountered someone you know but didn’t recognize them right away? It happens, right? Maybe you haven’t seen the person in a long time and it takes a moment or two before you recognize their face or voice or mannerism. Or, maybe, it’s someone you know very well, but the place and time of your encounter with them is so unexpected that you don’t recognize them right away… like, for instance, you are on vacation a thousand miles from home and you see your hair stylist relaxing on the beach.
‘Seeing’ has more than one component. There’s the actual physical part of ‘seeing’ that comes from light illuminating the world around us. There’s the perception part of ‘seeing’ that interprets what we see and defines it. And then, there’s the recognition part of ‘seeing’ that actually integrates what we see with what we know and what we experience into a coherent perspective of the world around us.
All of this is to say… we MUST have light to see, but we need MORE than just light to see. We need to actively engage in the process of perception and recognition.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
9 The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. 11 He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. 12 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— 13 children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1: 1-5; 9-15)
When Jesus dwelt among us. When he arrived at Christmas. He was the light that shines in the darkness allowing people to see God. But, unless the people would actually, actively engage in the process of perceiving and recognizing… they couldn’t really see Jesus for who he is. So, how do we actually, actively engage in the process of perceiving and recognizing? FAITH. We have to believe! It is through the ‘eyes of faith’ (how we define and interpret what we see and how we integrate it into our lives) that Jesus is revealed for who he is: GOD!
May your faith allow you to truly see Jesus this Christmas season