January 30, 2012

January Swan Song

Last December I took her mother out to the pond with the swans. It was the first time either of us had been there. It was a frigid day and I thought a shock of cold might send my daughter into labor. She was overdue.

We shivered a lot and got really cold noses but no contractions.

Now just over a year later, long after the contractions ended in joy, the birth of a beautiful baby girl, I strapped the little red-haired beauty into the car seat and we made our way toward the mountains. She would see the swans in all their splendor for the first time.

They say the swans were blown off-course by a storm twenty years ago. They landed on a pond in the middle of nowhere and decided they liked it. They come back every year and they have brought their families and friends. The swans winter on the pond until Valentine’s Day and then begin their journey back north just before spring unfurls daffodils.

They are trumpeters with black beaks. When the baby sees them, she says, “quack, quack.” She can’t differentiate between ducks and swans.

As I pack up to fly away to Eastern Europe to share my life with those who don’t know the Jesus who loves them--- who died for them, I wonder if they will see me for what I am---who I am in Christ?

Jesus had no beauty that man would look upon Him. It was His words that turned heads and hearts. And not just His words, it was His way that drew the crowds.

Yet he didn’t come from Glory, take on man-skin because He wanted to draw a big crowd. He came for individuals. Jesus loved people, ordinary people and built relationships with them. He loved the people that made up the multitudes and those with whom He shared a meal.

I have no beauty to pack up. All I have is a heart that longs to fulfill the calling that Jesus gave me. So I go. And I have only days to invest my life in the life of the individuals I pray for now, nameless people. In a a few short days our life paths will cross----and not by accident. To me that is so humbling and incredible---that God would choose to send me.

Will I look like every other person in the world created in the image of God (generically, a duck) or will my life reveal the beauty of the One who has become life to me? Will they see me---a child of God, a sinner saved by grace, a temple of the Holy Spirit? Will they see the heart inside me that beats for Christ?

Will my new friends wonder why I am “this way?”

Will they see what Grace has done to this life? And more importantly will they receive it for themselves?

It’s not quite Valentine’s Day, but I am heading north.

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