I come from a family that likes to hug. When our second child was born, our first son toddled up to my wife as she held the new baby. He looked at her and said, “Two babies, Momma. Two babies.” He wanted to be held, like many of us who have a deep down need to be embraced. As we age, we may resist those hugs, or our need to be embraced. We think we can handle things by ourselves. We want to be strong and independent. We think we don’t need that embracing nearly as much as we did before.
Sometimes we turn away because we realize we’ve made mistakes that we want to run away from. Sometimes in the course of life, we simply get too busy to be held and then grow accustomed to a more self-centered routine. Why do we refuse embraces so often?
On a hill overlooking Jerusalem one day, Jesus laments this refusal to embrace. Those God loves have refused to embrace God’s ways, God’s compassion, God’s justice to neighbors and the oppressed, God’s holiness and devotion. Jesus desires, like a mother hen, to embrace us all as God’s beloved. Through Jesus, God says, How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! (v. 34).
This story saddens me, for I know how often I’ve refused the embrace that might make all the difference in my life. I lament with Jesus. I lament for all of us who refuse his embrace. But Christ’s offer to hold us never expires. Today is another chance. Today is a good day to be held.
Why do you think God wants to embrace your life? How can you be a more willing recipient of God’s love?
Lord, hold me today and help me feel the loving Presence I need in my life now. Amen.