By Darrell Belrose of Calgary, Alberta, Canada
…with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. —Ephesians 4:2–3 NRSV
As family sat at the table celebrating our Christmas meal, I sat on the recliner cradling my high-fevered 15-month-old. We had given her a children’s fever medication earlier with no visible effect. Layla’s restless body searched for undiscovered relief.
As I sat with her my mind reflected to distant memories when I often sat similarly at different times with our two sons on my chest and basked in the beauty of listening to their inward and outward breaths. I witnessed the beauty of their fine features of a perfectly formed child of God, embraced in peaceful sleep. This has been one of God’s greatest gifts to me. These bonding moments have always been a source of elation and appreciation for my generous God.
This time, however, was different. Layla was restless for comfort and relief. As I cradled her tiny body, I prayed silently and quietly sang to her. Gradually her jerky movements began to ease, and she drifted off in fitful sleep. Within the hour she awoke, and, to my delight, was fever free. Now she only wanted Mommy! To my surprise when I stood, I saw the perfect imprint of her little head on the chest of my shirt. What a precious gift this imprint was. God’s tiny bundle of creation, God in person, had delicately imprinted Layla’s features not only on the layer of my shirt but into my heart. I wore the stamp of Holiness, the imprint of God’s eternal love.
What a gift this Christmas Season. The Christ child in the form of Layla had imprinted me with the gift of reflective memories. She was a prayer and a healing witness. Was it the medicine? Yes! Was it the prayers? Yes! Was it shared love? Yes! Understanding that all creation is spiritual, I praised God for this special time of imprinting!
Prayer for Peace
Compassionate God, may we be vulnerable to the imprint of Christ. May we learn love as he taught. May we bond with others as we share his peace.
Spiritual Practice: Honoring the Worth of All Persons
Read Psalm 139:13–18. After each reading sit quietly and let the words sink deeply into your mind, heart, and body. What thoughts and feelings do you have about being “fearfully and wonderfully made”?
Sense the love God has for you and everyone. Be aware of the sacred worth of each person. How does God invite you to notice, protect, heal, and affirm the spiritual identity of all God’s beloved people today? Pray for God’s compassion.
Today, God, I will cherish the imprint of other lives on mine.