Real Life

 In Featured, Pastor Jeff's Blog

Though he was God, Christ did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges, he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. – Philippians 2:6-7

Norman Rockwell’s iconic painting entitled Freedom from Want is one of his most beloved works. When asked if the painting represented his own holiday memories, Rockwell said, “I paint life not as it is, but as I wish it were.” Rockwell experienced numerous tragedies in life and in love. An analyst he was seeing once said, “He painted his happiness but did not live it.”

For many of us our holiday dinners look more like the Griswolds’ in the movie Christmas Vacation than Rockwell’s painting. Perhaps that’s why Freedom from Want is the most parodied painting in history. It’s just too far from the reality of our lives, and that makes us just a bit uncomfortable.

And all of that makes the Christmas story even more remarkable. God chose to be born into the broken reality of our lives. We didn’t have to paint a picture of having it all together or being free from want before God came to dwell among us. God being born in a stable should be enough to remind us that God came because our lives are not idyllic. God dwells in our real lives, not the lives we wish we had. And yet his coming gives us hope that the lives we wish we had might yet become a reality.

If the table of your life is a far cry from the table in Rockwell’s painting, that’s OK. Yours is the table at which Christ sits.

Jeff Marian is lead pastor at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Burnsville, MN

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