You know something: this Christmas will be exactly 7 Christmases since I closed my bookstore. I was thinking this week about my bookstore on Christmas Eve day a couple of years ago, and we were rockin'. I mean, best day before Christmas ever from a purely angels-get-their-wings standpoint, if you follow the cultural idiom. And I'm busy personally – helping people, encouraging them, being nice to them. (I know you can't imagine that, but that's what was happening)
And as people were throwing money at me and I was throwing merchandise at them – in a nice way, very jolly – these two women walked into the bookstore with a little girl. My helper greets them, and I notice them because they don’t act like middle-class people. They burp when they talk, they talk too loud, that kind of stuff.
Eventually, the wave of business subsided, and I caught a breather, and I took a walk around the store to check on the people who were still browsing – because people usually appreciated that. As I chatted with the handful of people still in the store, I noticed the two women and the little girl still browsing, and I asked them if they need any help. They didn't, but as I traded service talk with them, I noticed that they needed a bath more than they needed a book. They also prolly needed to give up the half-pack of cigareetes they smoked driving over here, but I ignored that and moved on. I've come out in public when I've been no prize, either.
So I went about my business, and one of the women came to the desk to ask for some help, the little girl in tow. We chatted some more, and the more I talked to her, the less I was impressed with her social skills, and I started to get a little antsy about her parenting skills. She wasn't smacking the kid around or anything, but I was pretty sure I had never talked to my kids that way unless they were on the verge of being crucified – which was an interesting word to think of there, given the season, but it's the one that came to mind as I was sort of forced to eavesdrop on this slice of life. Not unless I was on the verge of crucifying them.
And I started to think to myself, "How can she not know better?" So she put this book about Christmas on the counter along with a Bible and some other plastic junk, and I looked at the Christmas book, thinking about the Sunday School lessons I had been teaching the last 3 weeks.
Because the Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We saw his glory – the glory of the one and only, full of grace and truth, who came from the Father. We have all received from his fullness one gracious gift after another. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came about through Jesus Christ.
No one has ever seen God. The only one, himself God, who is in closest fellowship with the Father, has made God known.
That is, God has made himself known to those of us -- people like me -- who probably need more than a bath and to give up a half-pack of cigarettes to get right before him, and who know better than to talk to our children as if we were about to crucify them. The One who did crucify His one and only son has made Himself known.
I'm the one who ought to know better, because He has made Himself known to me.