With all the bright lights and music pointing to Christmas, Advent is a beautiful time of year. But not everyone feels beautiful.
Have you ever felt unlovely? The teenager rues the acne that spreads across his face. The middle-aged woman looks in the mirror and sees the extra pounds the years have added. The older man combs thinning hairs over a balding pate.
When a woman is in her eighth or ninth month of pregnancy, she feels more and more like a beached whale. The clothes that were so huge and baggy a few months ago, are now stretching at the seams. Fitting into a narrow airline seat is a challenge. A protruding misshapen stomach bumps into the kitchen counter. Bending over and tying one’s shoes becomes an Olympic feat.
By this point in her pregnancy, Mary may have felt…unattractive.
In her last trimester, she may have felt less than lovely. Her ankles may have swollen. Her back likely was sore. Everything about her youthful body had changed. Would she ever be slim again? Looking at the classic artistic renderings of the mother and child, she might laugh out loud. Would she even recognize herself?
Every person feels unlovely at some point in his or her life. Sometimes we feel unlovely as we look in a mirror, but other times we look deeper and see all the ways we fall short of our expectations. How could anyone love us when we are so selfish? Who would want to be near us when we are angry or impatient? What person would be willing to stand at our side when we have embarrassed ourselves or brought disrepute on God’s family?
In the book of Psalms (many of which, I suspect, were filched from David’s private journal), David never hid his unattractive side from God. If he was happy, he sang about it, but if he was angry, he told God about it. If he felt remorseful, he wept about his sin. There were times when he felt, well, unattractive. He felt unworthy of any affection. In Psalm 8, he wrote, “What is man that You should think of us, mere humans that You should care for us?” In Psalm 51, he confesses, “I recognize my shameful deeds – they haunt me day and night.”
Yet God doesn’t think about our appearance. He who looks on the heart sees only His beloved child.
If you are feeling unattractive today, read Isaiah 43:4 where your heavenly Father declares that “You are precious in My sight. . . you are honored and I love you.”