ITS 2012. HAPPY NEW YEAR!
Its 2.30 on New Year's morning and no, I haven't been carousing.
We spent a quiet evening at home, actually.
I thought we wouldn't stay awake till midnight but we did.
But I couldnt sleep!
So here I am, typing away in the wee hours -
I went for a solo walk to the beautiful, popular neighbouring town of Kalk Bay this afternoon.
Perfect conditions: warm but not burning; slight brushing breezes.
It made me happy just to be there.
As I swung along, overflowing with goodwill towards men (and women), I sought eye contact with the people I passed, eager to exchange smiles and maybe, new year greetings.
To my disappointment, I found that they either avoided my glance altogether or else, there was a blankness there - a sort of looking-throughness . . .
The thought occurred to me that we can do the same thing to God.
He is full of goodwill towards us, but we can so easily "look through" Him, never thinking that He's longing to to engage with us.
Many people, even fervent believers, don't realise how much He does long for that.
Something else that struck me afresh this Christmas season:
It doesn't matter how many children you have, if one is missing from your table, none of the others can take that child's place.
Each individual child is uniquely loved, and completely irreplaceable.
And the pang when one is not there is deep.
This is easy for us, who have small numbers of children, to realise.
But what about God?
Its easy to imagine that, because He has so many children, He won't even notice if the odd one is missing.
But I believe thats a big mistake -
As is witnessed by the father's sense of loss in the parable of the prodigal son, and his joy at his return.
I mention these things because it is so easy to fall into the trap of seeing God as One who watches us closely to see if we're coming up to scratch -
And miss His utter devotion to His children; to miss the very heartbeat of Christ's message:
"God loves you" -
As though you were the only child He has.
One of my children paid me a great compliment
Quite unwittingly, I think -
She said: "My mother's genius is that each of her children thinks they are her favourite."
Here's the truth -
Each of them IS my favourite.
I believe we are each God's favourite.
No one else can take our place with Him -
Isn't that a great thought to start 2012 off with?!