Zoey’s not outright mean to her little “brother” or anything, she just doesn’t want to be around him and she’s pretty clear about it. When he walks into a room, she leaves. When he calls for her to come, she heads in the opposite direction. When he tries to pet her, she gives him an “Are you kidding me?” glare and moves to just out of his reach. She just doesn’t like him and that’s obvious to everyone….except my son…
So on his Christmas wish list this year, in between “soccer ball” and “robot that will clean my room” was penciled “dog costume”. When I questioned him about this he had a fairly well-reasoned response; “I want a dog costume,” he said, “so Zoey will like me and let me be with her.” Well alrighty, then…
I’m guessing you already know how this worked out for him but fast forward to Christmas….He got a dog costume and….Zoey still doesn’t like him….
It was a sweet thought, but my son is learning a hard lesson. Whether he puts on his Cowboys’ jersey and helmet, his Captain America outfit, his Darth Vader pajamas, or even his precious new dog costume, he is still the same sweet, but active, noisy, impulsive, and occasionally smelly 5 year old….and Zoey is not fooled.
I shake my head and chuckle to myself about the silliness of my son’s plan, but the reality is that I often try to fool myself and God in the same way and I always get the same result.
I am a broken, imperfect, mess of a person. On any given day, a good look at myself reminds me that no matter what “costume” I put on before the world and before God, I continue to sin against his perfect ways by “what I have done and by what I have left undone.” I can’t cover it up with better church attendance, by helping out a neighbor, or by giving more in the offering plate. The reality will be the same. God will not be fooled.
That’s what makes the message of Christmas so amazing. Because while we were still broken, imperfect, messes of people, God sent us his perfect son, Jesus, to live among us. Jesus wasn’t God in a human costume. John tells us “The word became flesh and dwelt among us”. He came to live a perfect life, to give it up for us and to conquer death once and for all so that we could be with him forever. Isaiah calls that gift of salvation that we know have a “robe of righteousness”. It’s not a costume to cover up, but a brand new identity. By God’s grace our broken, imperfect, messes have become new creations; forgiven, redeemed and recipients of all his promises.
My son may never get to be with my dog in the way that he really longs for, but thanks be to God because of Jesus you and I can shed our costumes and all of the things we use to cover up who we are and rejoice in who we have become in Christ.