People Watching has always been a favorite pastime of mine. Even back in high school my boyfriend and I routinely scheduled date nights to do just that – watch people. Of course at the time, the art of people watching also included a lot of sarcasm. To us, the material demanded it.
As we watched people parade by we critiqued their clothing, their hair, their size – everything. And everything was open to our cynical evaluation.
I still love to watch people but time has matured me beyond thinking they’re here for my amusement. While watching people for entertainment might be inappropriate – to not see them at all – seems tragic.
The Christmas season brings people out in droves. Our malls and highways become jammed with holiday shoppers and revelers. It’s easy to look out at crowds of people and see one combined mass, rather than individuals. But when people are viewed as a group, their faces tend to fade away. And nameless, faceless individuals are often those who become disregarded and undervalued.
The art of appropriate and respectful people watching was beautifully modeled by Christ. He had an eagle eye for the person buried in the crowd. He bothered to notice them – to see their faces and know their names.
A large mob of people can be transformed into individuals of worth when we take time to truly look into a person’s face. It causes us to remember we’re all alike. Each one of us share a common, humble beginning as helpless babies. We were each born into the same harsh world. And we are each here by design.
The mystery of the face is one of the most intriguing maps on the planet – and worthy of exploration.
More importantly, every person has value to God. And every person – no matter how annoying they might be, or different, or even humorous – should also have worth to us, simply because God values them.
Won’t you join me in asking God to give us his heart for people this Christmas?
Bother to know the name of someone you frequently see in the marketplace. Ask God to give you boldness to do something extravagant as you interact with people this year. When was the last time you simply let people move ahead of you in one of those long annoying lines? Why not look someone in the eyes and pray a blessing over them this Christmas. People matter, after all, they are us.
As you demonstrate the heart of Jesus this Christmas, ask him to lead you to individuals hidden within the masses. Seek, find and love one person at a time.
I’m fairly certain our Heavenly Father is people watching too.
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