It’s only been a few days, but already I’m gathering Christmas items from around the house, parking them under the tree so we’re sure to pack them up in a few days.
After packing up last year’s stuff, around mid-January I found four Christmas items in my house. It’s such a pain to climb into the attic and find the right storage container that I just left them. This year I’m determined not to have any leftovers.
One would think Christmas leftovers would bring a smile, reminding us throughout the year of family, gifts, happy times, and most importantly…of Jesus. But for me, seeing the Christmas leftovers is just a reminder that I missed something. It seems out of place. It doesn’t belong. And every time I see it (or them) I’m reminded that despite its intended purpose or beauty, it shouldn’t be there.
But leftovers aren’t only seen at Christmas time or sitting uneaten in the refrigerator. Leftovers come in the form of people, too. Sometimes they’re easy to spot: the homeless person sleeping on a bench, the woman disfigured from years of spousal abuse. But sometimes they are right out in the open where we pass them every day completely unaware that inside they feel like a leftover, like a has-been, like someone no one else is interested in—most of all God.
Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you’ve led a rough life and done things you wish you hadn’t. Maybe you’ve been unkind to others. Maybe they’ve been unkind to you. Perhaps you feel as if life has passed you by and you find hope is no longer something you can hang on to.
Maybe you’ve done such a number on yourself that you no longer feel worthy of respect or love and you’ve come to believe you don’t even deserve it. Hope is gone and not only is the future bleak but the now is bleak as well.
And if it’s not you, it’s someone you know or a stranger passing by. We’re surrounded by people who feel like yesterday’s news, yesterday’s leftovers who no one else is interested in. Knowing that in a heartbeat you’ll be tossed out like yesterday’s garbage.
So what to do? If we’re the one struggling with feeling like a leftover, then we can remind ourselves of how God sees us in the Scriptures below, all quoted from the New International Version of the Bible.
- Psalm 149:4 For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
- Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- Galatians 4:7 You are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.
- 1 John 3:1 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
And if we’re doing okay in that regard, then we can look for the leftovers surrounding us; we can seek them out, pray with and for them, encourage them, share these Scriptures with them, love them.
Be encouraged, dear one. There are no leftover in God’s eyes—only “first-overs!”