By Denae Jones –
If you were ever a student or teacher or day-care worker or have gone on sleepovers as a kid, you can probably relate. Actually, if you are simply a person with hair, you have probably had an experience with head lice. You’ve either had it yourself or had to help someone else get rid of it. The whole de-lousing process can embarrassing and humbling. If you are the person doing the de-lousing for someone else, it takes hours of tedious, humble work. If you are the person with the lice, it can be so embarrassing. If you were just at someone’s house or in someone’s car, you have to tell them you have it so they can clean up and check their own hair. You have to go to the store and buy the products to get rid of it. School has to be notified. Your friends don’t want to be around you. (No offense) I never had it as a kid, but I got it three times when I was a special needs teacher. When a child comes up to you and asks for a hug, and you know it’s probably the only hug they will get that day, (or that week) you hug them anyway. Even if you know they are the kid with chronic lice. I mean, ‘What Would Jesus Do’, right?
As crazy as it sounds, this came to mind as I was thinking of the birth of Jesus. A friend of mine just had a baby and we were taking about how fortunate we are to be able to give birth (generally speaking) in sterilized rooms, or the comfort of our homes, with medicine if we want it, and nurses and midwives to make the process as easy as possible. The mother of Jesus gave birth in a stable. When Mary got pregnant with Jesus, she was not married, and that was punishable by death in those days. Can you imagine telling your friends that you were carrying the son of God? Or telling your fiancé that you conceived through the Holy Spirit? She was likely laughed at and made fun of and humiliated. At first Joseph didn’t believe her either, and her friends were probably not allowed to be around her. (No offense) She knew this was going to happen. She knew how difficult it would be. But she said yes to God anyway because she was faithful and obedient. She gave birth where they kept the animals, and laid her newborn baby in the hay. I grew up playing in barns, but I would not want to give birth in one. There were probably mice. And bugs. And fleas. Shepherds were among the first visitors, and although it’s different than the human kind, sheep are known to have a lot of lice. It was far from sanitary, and I’m sure she had very little help or comfort.
God could have let Jesus be born to a king. Or in a safe environment. Or to a wealthy family. Or have an easy life. But instead, he let Jesus be born to a teenage mother and be raised by a carpenter as his stepfather. He let this family have very humble beginnings. They felt fear as their lives were threatened. Throughout the life of Jesus, he knew heartache and anger and hunger. He laughed and loved and celebrated and prayed. He was tempted, and spat on and mocked. He felt betrayal and sadness and empathy. He gave forgiveness to those who didn’t deserve it. He died a horrible, painful death.
God didn’t let Jesus live a pampered life because He doesn’t ask us to do anything He hasn’t already done. Did you get that part? God doesn’t ask us to do anything He hasn’t already done. The circumstances may be different, but the feelings are the same. When we feel broken and defeated, he knows that hurt because he has been there too. If your family doesn’t have everything other families have, or if you’re feeling tempted, or if you’ve been accused of something you didn’t do, there is some comfort knowing that Jesus went through the same thing. If you’re feeling bullied or gossiped about, or suffering from something, Jesus felt that way too. He even had to deal with pestilence. So when we go to Him in prayer, he truly understands.
One of my kids asked me how the same God can be in heaven, can be the Holy Spirit, and can be Jesus here on earth all at the same time. How can He have three different parts? I explained it to them with an apple. The apple has the red exterior, and we can think of that like our father God in heaven. It looks pretty, and is all around the apple to protect it, just like God is always around us. Then the apple has the sweet, white part that feeds us. I think of that part as being like Jesus. He loved little children, understands our hurts, and gave his life for us. He’s sweet, just like that part of the apple, and his teaching feeds our hearts and minds. Then there are the very inner parts of the apple, which are the seeds. That is like the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us. Like a seed, if it’s nourished, it will grow into something wonderful. The apple has these three parts, but is still one apple. Just like God has three parts, but is still one God.
It’s so cool how Jesus is so relatable. He gets us! That’s why it’s so easy for me to go to him in prayer. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Sometimes it’s just a few words. “Thank you, God, for this sunset!” Or, “My friend is hurting. Please comfort them.” It doesn’t really matter what the words are. I think he just likes when we talk to him.
My daughter told me I probably shouldn’t compare the life of Jesus to having head lice, but I think it made a point. Have a blessed week, friends!