Weekly Devotions for 12/19

Sights and Insights

Devotion for Dec. 19, 2023

And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit. – 2 Corinthians 13:12 (NRSVUE)

I needed to go to the MVC last week to renew my driver’s license. I needed to go in person rather than do the automatic online renewal because I needed to upgrade to a Real ID. Being there in person, though, also meant that they needed to take a new picture. Driver license photos are always terrible, at least for me, and this one is no different. Whenever I get one, though, I can’t help recalling getting my picture taken when I first got an ID card. I was 14 years old and was getting ready to go to the Boy Scout National Jamboree along with two of my best friends. Our parents decided that instead of a bunch of teenagers with enough cash for three weeks, it was better to send traveler’s checks. To cash them, though, you needed government-issued photo IDs. When it came time to take my picture for the ID card, though, the camera broke. Talk about a blow to a sensitive 14-year-old’s ego! Especially with friends there to point out that you literally broke the camera when they tried to take your picture. It was mortifying! We had to wait an extra half hour for them to fix the camera to get more pictures. And of course my friends had the fun of retelling the story for weeks afterwards. I am so thankful that they now have digital cameras. I’ll thankfully go with a less than perfectly flattering photo to get it done quickly.

As move into the final days of the Advent season and the world revs up for Christmas, it is a time for remembering stories. Stories of Jesus’ birth and of Christmas long ago. Stories of embarrassing things happening and friends who eagerly shared that story, making it unforgettable. We make sense of our lives, the good times and the difficult ones, through sharing stories. As you share stories with friends and family this week, keep in mind the account of Jesus’ birth. It is a story of a difficult time – having to travel while pregnant, giving birth in less than ideal conditions, of God entering the world and the world being completely unaware of it happening. 

I also want to think about horrible pictures. Nobody likes to see a horrible picture of themselves. We much prefer ones that catch us at our best. Yet we spend very little of our lives at our best. We are less than perfect pictures. The image of God is upon us, and yet we distort that image. We make it blurry or stretch it out of proportion or obscure it all together. Yet Paul reminds us in 2 Corinthians that as the glory of God shines on us, it transforms us to more closely matching that image of God. The glory of the Lord was shining in the heavens when Jesus was born, but even more it shone in the humbleness of the manger. As we look upon that humble glory and tell the story of it, we become transformed bit my bit towards the image of God through the Spirit.