In 1 Samuel 16:1-12, God sends Samuel to Jesse to anoint him God's chosen, king. After seeing men who looked fit for the part, it was the runt, not deemed worthy of presenting, who was chosen as God's anointed one. After all:
“Looks aren’t everything...God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.” 1 Samuel 7
We're in the heart of Advent. There are a mere eleven days until Christmas Eve, twelve until Christmas Day. In this reading, God gets to the heart of the matter: our hearts are what are important - not our looks, not our appearances.
As a parent, I worry that my children will judge others by their outward appearance, rather than by their heart and their actions.
One day when my children were younger, before I was in need of crutches or a wheelchair, we were sitting in a restaurant enjoying our lunch when a man came in on crutches. He was missing one leg and had prosthetic arms and hands. One of my kids yelled, "Hey, Mama - LOOK at that guy over there!" My brain readied itself for the possible situation at hand and my lovely child continued,
"He has the coolest hat!"
The reassurance I felt in that moment was overwhelming. That they saw The Hat, not the disability was heartwarming.
In my house, we teach our children lots of heart things:
People are more important than stuff.
Whenever we can, we help.
Praying is helping.
Others' feelings are just as important as our own.
When you have a choice to be mean or be kind, choose KIND.
If you hurt someone, a sincere apology is the only kind of apology.
If you hurt someone, ask how you can help them feel better.
If someone says you hurt them, believe them.
We will love you, always, forever, and no matter what.
God will love you always, forever, and no matter what.
If you mess up, tell the truth and ask for help.
Mistakes are learning experiences, not reasons for punishment.
We help each other to right wrongs and fix things.
You are FORGIVEN, no strings attached!
FORGIVE, no strings attached!
Love one another.
What's in someone's heart is what makes them beautiful.
When in doubt, choose LOVE.
Take care that your own hearts shine with God's light and love.
See the beauty inside others that God sees in us all.