The subtle things…

So I just celebrated my 34th birthday on January 1st. As always my wife (Jessica) and I stay up to ring in the new year, she wishes me happy birthday and we go to bed. I am not a big person on parties so it is usually small, mostly family. This past January 1st was the same as usual.

If you did not know every 1st Sunday of the year is Epiphany Sunday. In the church we celebrate the Magi coming from the east to visit and present gifts to the newly born King of kings, Jesus. It is on this Sunday that the church takes down all the decorations of the Christmas season. The house that we live in is literally 20 feet from the church. Basically there is a sidewalk between my house and the church. Anyway, after we celebrated Epiphany Sunday I changed into my comfortable house clothes. We were going to take down the decorations around 2:30 so I had time to relax. As the time drew closer Jessica asked if I was going to change. I thought, “why would I do that?” I was very comfortable and I wanted to remain comfortable as we took down the decorations. So I said, “no.” Jessica continued to address the issue of my clothing, “are you sure you do not want to change?”, “that shirt is a little small don’t you think?” were some of the questions she would ask. This continued until I finally asked, “Are you embarrassed by what I am wearing?” Of course she was not embarrassed, I was just giving her a hard time. Come to think of it, she probably was embarrassed, but she loves me too much to let it bother her. By the time it was time to go she convinced me to change at least my shirt to one that fit me better. I still had my shorts on and I did not wear shoes. Needless to say I walked in and what do you know, they threw me a surprise birthday party. (I love my congregation) Once I walked in it was like a lighting bolt hit me; now I know why Jessica was so concerned with the clothing I was wearing. She tried to warn me, but I wasn’t having it. All those subtle hints that she gave me came flooding back in my memory. The subtle hints she gave me was her way of preparing me for something great that was about to happen in my life, but I wasn’t paying attention. Jessica taught me another lesson about God in this story.

You know, God does not just come out and reveal Himself to us the way we would like.  No, God does it in very subtle ways. In the church we emphasize the grand things that God does like creation, the Incarnation, the crucifixion, and resurrection, but without the small subtle things that God reveals to us these major events would seem less grand. God shows His love in very subtle ways, if we have the eyes and heart to see and believe.  In these subtle hints God points to something grand that can take place in our lives. My favorite beatitude that Jesus spoke is “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” It is interesting that the closer we grow toward God the more we see what God is doing in the world. Sometimes God does grand gestures of love, Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection proves that, but most of the time it is the little subtle things that have the biggest impact on our lives. The warmth of a hug, the joy of a smile, the freshness from the rain all become the subtle hints that God loves us and desires to be with us. The more you allow the Holy Spirit to reign in your heart the more you see God in the world. You get to see all the subtle ways that God says, “I love you.”

I hope you grow closer to our Lord and Savior so that you can see all the subtle ways God loves you. May God’s love flow through you and make you whole. May you never miss the subtle hints of God’s love…

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