I’ll just say it. Her house scared me.
Jeff and I had volunteered to help Hope pack (not her real name). She was downsizing from her 3-bedroom house where she’d raised her family to a small condo in Tennessee where she’d live alone.
But something stood in the way:
her tons of stuff.
In the living room we stepped over clothes, empty boxes, frames, etc., to see the mattress she’d pulled to the floor. Her bedroom was no longer habitable because all the piles, so she’d been sleeping here instead.
I was overwhelmed. I walked to the son’s bedroom, who’d moved out months ago, thinking it’d be easier. It wasn’t. His suits, his school notes, his collections were still crammed in every available space.
Jeff brought me a box and said, “Don’t think; just fill.”
We asked Hope about donations. Could we bag up outgrown clothes and donate them to a thrift store or to Manna House?
But Hope said no. She wasn’t opposed to giving them away (she had a big heart, I could tell), but she wanted it to be personal. She wanted to see faces of those who could use them before she’d let go. Until then, she’d keep them to herself, not risking their misuse from others.
I understand that. It’s hard for me to let go of my stuff, too. What if I’ll want it later? What if my kids might sometimes need it? Or my yet unborn grandkids?
Until I picture a face of someone who needs it now.
I imagine an Hispanic mother sifting through the grocery carts of clothes at Manna House on Wednesday night, picking up the jacket I put there. I can see a needy man asking for a shirt to wear to a new job, and giving him one of Jeff’s donations.
Jesus saw the faces.
So he poured himself, the Spirit of Logos, into flesh, into something that could be seen, felt, heard. And for 33 years he wore it well.
But then took it off.
He moved out of his flesh into ours.
He’s willed his feet, his hands, his words to us to wear for him. He sees our faces, imagines our future actions, purposes our giving in his name, even knowing we’ll misuse the gift or forget to use it altogether at times.
Now is our turn.
Because the Word is still flesh.
We’re to touch with it, talk through it, go to others in it. This flesh, it’s for showing up in. To be worn well until it’s worn out.
Back at Hope’s, I finally gave up packing and just listened to her instead. She had a story behind every item she was hoarding and she needed someone to hear it. I kept her in the kitchen so Jeff could pack elsewhere without interruptions.
When we left a few hours later, I could see little difference. Yes, there were now more boxes taped and labeled, but there was so much more to go. It looked hopeless.
I later heard Hope got moved. She’d rented storage buildings to house her extras–Christmas decorations, coffee mugs, musical instruments, novels, boots. All in boxes. Not being used. Not being fleshed out.
The Word became flesh to be worn.
Put him on. Live him out. Wear him well.
* * *
How can you wear his flesh this Christmas?
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