Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Family Forte: The Heel, the Hercules, and the Humble Hero

By: Topher Wiles
She’s received a litany of gifts from me including a vacuum cleaner, racquetballs, and tickets to a Trans-Siberian Orchestra Concert over our 18 Christmases. Yet, the best gift she can remember has left me at times feeling like a Heel and at other times feeling like a Hercules.  Even better than the way the gift makes me feel is the Humble Hero it reminds me of.  If all that feels cryptic, it’s ok, all will soon be revealed to those of stout heart willing to persevere through the following anecdotal explanations.  The best writings reveal their truth over time, like the unwrapping of a present.
HEEL.  When you feel like a heel you believe you have treated someone unfairly or given them less attention than they deserve in life.  I definitely felt like a big heavy ugly heel the week after Christmas in 2004.  It’s hard not to play the comparison game isn’t it?  In our first Christmas as a married couple we set some stiff limits on our noel spending.  We knew those student loans weren’t going to pay themselves off, so our money discipline led us to declare a $10 spending limit on our gifts.   Now, you and I know that it is completely unfair for a couple 20 year-olds to compare themselves to a married couple with kids in their late 30’s, but that’s exactly the temptation I fell prey to when a sweet lady at church made friendly conversation with my wife.
The inquisitive well-meaning woman asked, “What did Topher buy you for Christmas?” 
“Welding gloves,” was my wife’s reply followed by, “What did your husband buy you?” 
“This jewelry,” she replied.  Do I need to explain anymore why I felt like a heel?
HERCULES.  I’m sure the mythological character, Hercules, felt pretty proud of himself when he slayed the invulnerable lion or toppled the multi-headed hydra.   I imagine him beating his chest, fist bumping friends, and making loud guttural sounds in celebration of his monumental achievements.  I may have done some of the same when I saw my wife’s response to a Facebook survey last week.  The question was, “What was the best Christmas gift you’ve ever been given.”  Her reply was, “Welding gloves.”  Hercules never flexed as big as I did in that moment. 
My wife was a domestic marvel even early on in our marriage.  She poured time and effort into baking the most delicious delights and this newlywed husband was mesmerized by her culinary artistry and beauty like Greeks were enamored with Aphrodite.  Yet, my bride wasn’t perfect and frequently received battle scars in duels with her oven baking racks.  Ashley’s arms were receiving the raw end of the deal as she routinely seared the flesh just beyond the wrists because those beautiful oven mitts just didn’t provide the coverage that my beloved needed.  When I found red welding gloves (yes, the kind that industrial commercial welders used) on Black Friday sale for $8, I was excited.  Their red hues even matched our kitchen décor!  The best part wasn’t the price or the color, but the length of coverage that travelled well up onto her forearms.  The forearm branding ceased during the next decade that she used her Christmas gift of culinary armor.
It’s hard for beaus to buy gifts for their belles.  Some ladies prefer the practical while some appreciate the pretty.  One lady may treasure the thought while another puts priority on a price-tag.  God gave us women who differ in love-languages and present preferences, and that’s just part of the adventure as we strive to buy them the best gift to honor their uniqueness.  Sometimes your gift makes you feel as a hero and sometimes a zero.   This time, my gift was special to my wife because it fit what she needed, matched her décor, appeased the budget, and was a complete surprise.
HUMBLE HERO.  Some of the best gifts in life are the ones you least expected.  That’s exactly why Jesus is the best gift the world has ever seen.  As you slowly unwrap the truth of Jesus through a life of worship, prayer, and study, you start to see just how wonderful of a gift He is.  The world expects a savior like the physically strong and striking Hercules to deliver us but we were surprised instead to receive a man who lacked physical beauty to save us from our sins (Isaiah 53:2).  Jesus’s sacrifice is a gift that costs exactly the price that was required of sin, nothing more and certainly nothing less (Romans 6:23).  Giving of His Son as the Christ was the surprising gift God knew we needed most (Philippians 4:19) which causes us to rejoice (Philippians 4:4).  Jesus is the Humble Hero that became the greatest gift the world has ever known which causes us to declare the same as Paul.
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!” – 2 Corinthians 9:15
Of all the great gifts you been given, from pretty to practical, fancy to festive, and delicious to delightful, make sure this season to thank God for giving us the Humble Hero of Jesus Christ.