"But the Lord said to Samuel, 'Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'" 1 Samuel 16:7
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him." Isaiah 53:2
Bible Reading: 1 Sam 16:1-23
Jesse Tree Symbol: Shepherd's Crook w/sheep in background (go to Jesse Tree ornaments 2)
In our humanness, we are quick to look at someone and pass judgment on them based on what they look like. We do it all the time even though we, as Christians, know we shouldn't. Even Samuel, a man who heard audibly from God, did the same thing.
God had called him to anoint another king for Israel since Saul had disobeyed the Lord and lost His blessing and His support. Samuel went to the family of Jesse (where the name of our Jesse Tree comes from) and was sure He knew whom God had chosen when he saw Jesse's tall, handsome, oldest son. But that was not God's choice. Neither were the next six sons. It wasn't until Jesse called his youngest son, a young shepherd named David, that God finally said, yes, he is the one.
In this time of choosing, God told Samuel something about His character: The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.'" 1 Samuel 16:7
This is a lesson we need to teach our children and ourselves regularly. We are naturally drawn to attractive people, to people who look like us, to the strong, the athletic, the talented. We need to fight against this tendency and instead, ask God to help us see people with His eyes.
When we see people with His eyes, we will look at a child with Downs Syndrome and recognize the precious spirit within that child...a child made in God's image. When we look at someone who is scarred by some sort of tragedy, we will see the beautiful person they are on the inside. When we see someone from a different race, we will see a potential brother or sister in Christ...someone who we may spend eternity with in Heaven.
And when we look at Christmas, we will see past Santa, the presents, the trees, the lights, the food and parties, and instead will see God, in human flesh, come down to help us see people with His eyes. To help us love the outcast, the sinner, the not-so-beautiful...maybe even ourselves. For each of us has a precious spirit within us that God loves so much that He was willing to shed all of His glory to win back to Himself.
As we see with God's eyes, we will see Jesus.
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." Isaiah 53:2-5
The above commentary on Judges is part of a 4-week Advent Reflection for the Jesse Tree. The Jesse Tree is similar to an advent calendar. Every day you will read a Bible passage to your child(ren), discuss what it means to them in personal terms and color an ornament to hang on your Jesse Tree. A fuller description of this can be found at The Jesse Tree
When you are finished today, you might want to discuss how Christmas is about giving much more than getting. One way that your family can give is through their daily prayers. This might be a good time to pray for a specific country or for a group of people who do not know about Jesus. Today, over 2 billion people, 1/3 of the earth's population, have never heard the Gospel message. We need to step out in obedience and pray for them as God asks us to.
Two great websites to help you do this are:
Unreached of the Day
Operation World go to Featured Nation and click on Country Profile
Another way to give is by giving a gift to those, throughout the world, who have very little. It might be a chicken, or sheep or a goat...maybe you can help pay for the digging of a well or provide a sewing machine to a widow so she can provide for her family. There are many ways to help this Christmas. Visit Gospel for Asia and take a look at their Christmas Catalog.