It must be 21 years ago that 3 friends: Naomi, Victoria and I each made our own Nativity set.
At the time Naomi was working in a pottery place when she had the idea. So having purchased the unfired pieces, painted them, and then sent them off with Naomi to be fired in the kiln, we waited with anticipation for their return.
I remember Naomi saying that somehow in the process of being in the kiln, one of my pieces had been damaged: Joseph’s hand had been broken, but she thought it would be okay. As for me, I wondered how broken? Do I need a new Joseph?
On that day when we each got our Nativity pieces back, I examined Joseph to find that on his left hand (with his outstretched arm) he’d lost the top of his fingers. But thankfully I didn’t need a new Joseph, with a bit of paint, I could still use him in my Nativity, to represent as the father of baby Jesus.
In thinking deeper about this, I see how this story reflects our own life, or at least mine for sure!
We have a picture of how our life will be, and we paint it as so, but then come the fires of life: the death of a parent as a young child, bullied at school, divorce, a hysterectomy, a diagnosis of depression, unhealthy life choices, and loss of friendships, to name some of my own ‘broken fingers.’
In the midst of each of these fires, I have wondered if I was:
Too broken to be repaired.
Too broken to ever be me again.
Too broken to represent my Father.
To feel so broken, that I should just be replaced with someone else.
While I couldn’t give Joseph back his fingers, I saw the way to ‘repair’ what remained of his broken fingers. And with a touch of paint you’d never know the injury he encountered while going through the fire (unless you look closely to see his short, stumpy hand).
And this has been my experience also:
While there are some things I just can’t get back, God saw the way to ‘repairing’ my broken parts. With His touch of love on those areas, He gave me hope that He will not replace me with someone else, but instead repair me so that (in spite of all I’ve been through in the fires of life), I can be confident in who I am. And so I represent Him, the One who got me there – my Father.
The Christmas season stirs up different emotions for different people for different reasons. But if you’re in a difficult place, know that no matter how bad it is:
Despite what you think, you ARE NOT replaceable!
Despite what you feel, your repair is possible.
And even if you can’t see it now, you can be confident in who you are, because I know the One who can get you there.
Merry Christmas as you celebrate with family and friends on this day, the date designated as the birthday of Jesus.