God says that we should love and care for the least of these among us….but might I beg the question, whom are the least of these?
There are the obvious answers: little ones who rely on us, with open hearts and inquisitive minds….there are the downtrodden and the penniless…there are the ill and the ill-tempered…there are the socially awkward and insecure….and those weathered by time and disheartened by fate.
But what about the less obvious – the ones who struggle privately in the confines of their room, beneath their small pedantry and those who hide behind their distant gazes? What about the financially stable college graduate who has a fairly secure life, but drinks himself almost sick every evening? What about the suburban house wife who hides behind her gaudy jewelry and awkward smile? What about the girl whom night after night goes home with whichever guy happened to strike her fancy, or the child who desperately searches for their way in this world? Is she not a least-of-these? Is he not the least-of-these as well? What about those whose lives feel like nothing more than an exercise in futility, and those who grieve the loss of love, life or even innocence? Or….what about our fellow Christians? Rich and poor…..young and old….trying, surviving and giving up….what if we are all the least-of-these? Every single one of us? If w were to realize it, could we willfully come down from the pedestals and finally love hard at last?
Would we suddenly see those people who irritate us daily as God so lovingly sees them? Would we be less annoyed when they throw a wrench into yet another of our “all important” plans? Would we witness a sinful struggle had by another and not appease the notion that we are somehow better because their struggle is not our own? Could we love like real Christians? After all, Jesus Christ himself was a “least-of-these.” Furthermore, could we love without arrogance? Or are our eyes blinded by our own narrow-mindedness? Christmas is fast approaching and I am reminded not of the trivial gift-giving, but that I am loved and have the capacity to love. I look into the smiling faces of others and cannot help but smile back. That is a gift in itself and a gift that is invaluable. Having just one more year to share with those I love is a present worth claiming. You see gifts of plastic, dolled and adorned with ribbon and string will fade and they will break, they will find their way into boxes stored in attics, filed neatly away with other memorabilia of yesteryears long since gone, but the love remains and continues to live on in infamy.
I am ready to learn to love that hard….but I am unsure of the depths of my pride….or how hard I’ll have to yank and pull up the embedded roots of my conceit so that it won’t grow back. God, teach me to love as you love us. Teach me to bury my arrogance and take my place among “the least-of-these.” God grant me the wisdom to remember Christmas not as a holiday that comes and passes once a year, but one that continues and survives through the eyes of those who love those who love in abundance, because I am ready to love, ready to love abundantly, and most importantly, I am ready to accept my kingdom as a “least-of-these.”