For over thirty years, our family has used the first 24 days of December to prepare our hearts for Christmas. Each year we have focused on a different devotional theme for those few weeks. The themes have included 24 different names of God, 24 items on God’s Christmas wish list, 24 transitions Jesus experienced as he left heaven to come to earth, 24 kings in the line of Christ, and a variety of other themes. This year is no different.
This year our theme will focus on: “Things Jesus Touched.”
So often witnesses in court report what they heard or saw. But John wrote in his first epistle, “The one who existed from the beginning is the one we have heard and seen. We saw him with our own eyes and touched him with our hands. He is Jesus Christ, the Word of Life.”
The apostle John chose to report not only what he saw and heard but what he himself had touched. For example, he is the only one of the gospel writers who reported that, at the Last Supper, he lay next to Jesus “reclining on his breast.”
Unlike our eyes, ears, nose and mouth, the guardians of the other senses that are located in the head, the tactile sense is spread throughout our bodies. The sense of touch is key to exploring our world. A child experiments by handling objects and even placing them in the mouth. A blind man uses his fingers to read small elevated bumps on a page. When paralysis strikes a woman’s limb and she loses the sense of touch, she risks injury; she cannot feel the sharp shards of broken glass, the heat of the stove’s burner, the warmth of a child’s hand. Think about the many things Jesus must have touched each day.
Studies say that a person deprived of sensory experiences can become mentally unstable. A strong hug releases chemicals in the brain that promote physical and emotional healing. It boosts our self-esteem and sense of security. Some people say each of us needs four hugs a day; others say we need as many as eight. If that is true, most of us experience a deficit. To whom can you offer a hug today in Jesus’ name?