Can a newspaper clipping make you stop dead in your tracks and feel overwhelmed with gratitude?
Yes. It happened to me the other day.
We subscribe to the print version of the Wall Street Journal. I know, it is a luxury. It’s an analog extravagance to a guy whose business was built and still depends on the triple w. But, we love it. We are a family of readers and pour over it every day. In my more candid moments I will also admit to really enjoying its crossword puzzles. Wild stuff.
The other day I clipped an article and laid it aside. It was a review of a new car by their auto column regular, a guy named Dan Neil. I was in a hurry, so I just clipped it and laid it next to the rest of the paper. Later that day, I came home and my wife Palmer and our two boys were in the kitchen. As soon as I greeted them, I saw the article laying on the table, and said, “Oh! I forgot!”
That’s all that Palmer needed. She said, “Yes! I saw you cut that out. I figured you wanted to save it and let the boys read it. The article is such a good example of writing! It was informative and creative, and I told them you’d want to sit down and review it with them.”
I was blown away. Why? Please keep in mind that I am not a car guy. So I don’t regularly point their attention to the latest models. Also, I have never cut out an article with the sole purpose of it being a writing lesson. I might cut out 3 a year and they usually have to do with the subject matter, not the style or effectiveness of the writing. She knew why I cut it out, who it was meant for, and what I wanted to discuss. Wow. She knows me better than anyone on earth! After over two decades of marriage, she has learned how I think.
I was moved to tears in a split second because I realized that the person that knows me the best, also loves me the most. Despite knowing me as well as she does, despite being a daily witness to all my screw ups and selfishness, she loves me. That is powerful. It’s easy to think you love someone from afar, when you can fool yourself into thinking the object of your love is perfect. It’s quite another when you are loved deeply by those that know you best. Right then and there, I told our boys that our prayer for them is that one day God blesses them with a wife that knows them and loves them like that. She inspires me.
Then I thought about it some more and realized that there is someone who knows me even better and loves me infinitely more. As well as she knows me, she doesn’t know me as well as the Creator of the universe, the author of all life. He does. He knows my thoughts, the whims of my heart, my most basic and selfish motives.
Even though He knows them that well, God saved his Children. He saved them not by just turning a blind eye, but by sacrificing His son for them. His son is Jesus Christ who, mind bogglingly, was both fully God and fully man. Jesus came to earth and (even more mind bogglingly) knowingly and willingly laid down his life for you and for me.
This really happened.
How do I know?
I know from a million examples like the WSJ article above. God loved us first. God created love. He gives us many things here on earth that point to his perfection. So when I am thunderstruck on the magnitude of love that my wife and I share, it points me back to Him.
I know that things are imperfect and screwed up here on Earth. 2020 is a great example of a year of realizing that. But the happy moments, the moments of beauty, the moments of love we experience here on earth are but a foretaste, a glimpse of the power of God’s love for us.
The Coleys’ prayer for you, for our world, and for ourselves is that Christmas is another time to remind ourselves of the love, grace, justice, and power of God and the sacrifice of Jesus, and may this lead us to believe in Him as our savior, and then to live and love like Him.