Sunday night when I heard, “Would it be alright, if he had my eyes,” well, it was hard to carry on with tears in my own eyes.
I was only doing my job, which was to be the trombone section in our church orchestra for our Christmas music presentation. The lyric was from the song My Savior and My Son, sung by Rebecca Griffin (as Mary); it’s Mary’s response to the angel who told her she would give birth to … God. How would any of us respond to news such as that?
Why was it was my favorite moment from the entire night? Because it’s such a personal request, close to the heart of all mommies and daddies. Mary was just a young woman who would give birth to a baby, and her request, “Can he (at least) have my eyes” is almost too personal. It is perfect. It is a reminder that all the characters in the Christmas story were people like you and me, with regular lives and dreams. They wanted their children to take after them, to look like them, the same way we do.
It reminded me of another of my favorite songs, from 1979. Amy Grant sang: “When people look inside my life, I want to hear them say, she’s got her Father’s eyes.” Amy wanted eyes that resembled God's. She wanted her human eyes to see with compassion, hope, and love, just like God's eyes do.
Me too. I want Jesus to have human eyes just like mine, and I want my human eyes to see just like God’s.
Sunday night as I was thinking about all this, even while playing my horn, I found myself lost in another song that I first heard several years ago, sung by 14-year-old Adriana Jasso in the role of Mary in a another church choir presentation. She sang: “My soul magnifies the Lord.”
Maybe I’m just a softy when it comes to songs sung by Mary, but once again, this line was almost too personal. For all my writing and teaching and talking about journey and calling and purpose and meaning, and if you are around me much you know I talk about those all the time, the person I want to be, who I want my life and legacy to be, is a man who magnifies the Lord.
I want to make Him easier to see, make His grace more comfortable to accept, open His comfort for healing, illustrate His huge strong hands that have a firm grip on me. I want my life, my writing, and my teaching to be a continuous stream of, “Hey, take a look at this.” I want to describe, reframe, illustrate, and illuminate the grace of God through my own experiences.
The story of Jesus, which is to say, THE STORY of all time, flows through the lives of real people, and it bears the marks of their personalities and shortcomings and struggles and victories. It is amazing that God trusted human beings to bear his story.
There are so many ways for us to tell the Christmas story. We read the gospel accounts, we stage live nativity presentations, we give big choir and orchestra performances, we send Christmas cards, we decorate our houses and yards, we wear Christmas sweaters, we sing Christmas carols, and we give our dollar bills to the Salvation Army bell ringers. Maybe we do those because they have become traditions, but I believe the real motivation runs much deeper. We do all those things because we’re telling the story of Jesus through our lives and actions, and that story changes both the teller and listeners in more ways than we can know.
This year, open your eyes to the story of Jesus, and let it flow freely through your life. That is exactly what everyone needs to hear.
“I run in the path of Your commands, for You have set my heart free.” Psalm 119:32