Perception — Webster defines perception as “The process, act or faculty of perceiving.” That wasn’t much help, so I looked up the word perceive. This is Webster’s definition: 1. “To become aware of directly through any senses.” 2. “To take notice of; observe.”
3. “To become aware of in one’s mind; achieve understanding of.”

I am interested in this word “perception” because of a recent event. The story is much too long to relay here. I will simply say I had an exchange with a furnace repair man when the furnace at the parsonage failed to work. I believed the furnace company was being unreasonable, and I expressed my dismay at their handling of the situation.

FINALLY, the young repairman came to the parsonage to repair the furnace. I was not at home at the time. As I was pulling into the driveway of the church, the repairman was pulling out. When I went into the house, Nancy said, “Do you know what that young man said?” “No, obviously not,” I replied. “When he rang the doorbell, and I answered, he asked, “Is he home?” “I told him no.” He replied, “Oh good, he makes me nervous!”

“Say what? Now why in the world would I make him nervous?” I asked. Nancy didn’t hesitate to inform me as to why. “Maybe it is because you used your PREACHER’S VOICE (Whatever that means), and you intimidated him.”

When my exchange was taking place with the repairman the day before, Nancy texted the girls and said “Daddy is inconvenienced, and the preacher’s voice is in full force!” The response from my girls: “Uh-oh!”

Now wait a minute — his perception of me is not how I perceive myself to be. I like to think I am kind (most of the time), compassionate (most of the time), understanding (most of the time), patient (sometimes).

His perception of me, obviously, was none of those things.

I must admit my perception of me may be me looking through rose-colored glasses. As I thought about it, I had to admit, I have been accused of being aloof. And then there were those times when my girls were teenagers, and I later learned that their gentlemen callers would come up on the porch and look into the living room window, and if they saw me in my recliner, they would turn around and leave. If they did not see me, they felt it was safe to knock on the door.

Maybe I need an attitude adjustment? Then again, I have granddaughters that soon will be of the teenage years and there will be those gentlemen callers… I better not lose too much of the attitude.

I realize this is a very long introduction to get to my point. Once again, we find ourselves in the seasons of Advent and Christmas. It is a very holy season in which we celebrate the coming of the Christ Child, the Messiah, God’s Son, the Savior of the world.

As we reread the Advent narratives and the Christmas story, we realize not everyone had the same perception of this one named Jesus.

The shepherds knew something very special had happened in Bethlehem. They left their flocks to see and worship God’s gift of God’s Son. The Wise Men knew as well; the King of Kings had been born, and they travelled a great distance to worship Him.

Herod’s perception of Jesus, however, was that of a threat to his throne, and he wanted nothing to do with him. In fact, he wanted him annihilated. He wanted him dead!

Even today, people’s perceptions of Jesus vary: some see him as just another man of history, some see him as a prophet, and some don’t believe he ever existed. We, however, perceive, no… we know him to be God’s Son, our Savior.

You see, perception makes all the difference in the world!

How has this gift changed your life? Do others perceive you to be a devoted follower of the Messiah?

Pastor Russel

Photo by Derrick Tyson