It has been a while since I worked a jigsaw puzzle. I used to like having one set out on the kitchen table so everyone could work on it throughout the week. The other day, as I was cleaning out a cabinet, I found a small pile of puzzle pieces in far corner on a shelf. This seemed odd at first; I did not have a boxed puzzle in the cabinet. I laughed when I realized where they must have come from.
One year, when my mother was in town visiting us, I emptied the contents of a puzzle onto the kitchen table. It was a puzzle we had tried to complete before but had eventually put away . My mom is good at working puzzles and I thought she would enjoy the project. We all worked on the puzzle from time to time, but it was my mom who managed to fit most of the pieces into their proper place. She seemed to enjoy working on it throughout her stay…until she came to the final stages of the puzzle. With almost all the stray pieces nestled in place, it was obvious there were numerous pieces missing.
Yep, I had inadvertently given my mom an incomplete puzzle! In my defense, I had no way of knowing there were missing pieces, but that did little to detract from the cruel reality that she had started something she would never see finished. The beautiful scene was marred by a severely lacking sky, bits of a house and carriage and even a few vital “edge” pieces. I have no doubt the small pile I unearthed from the cabinet was comprised of those missing pieces. I tossed them in the trash; the puzzle they belong to had long since been discarded.
I thought of that day when we concluded our puzzle would never been complete. It was frustrating and deflating. How much is humanity like our puzzle? Nations and generations of individuals have tried to work things to fit a plan or expectation. How much have we strived to find our place in the world and to be happy? We are not complete. By our own deeds we find we are lacking. We are separated from one another by so many aspects. We are separated from our heavenly Father by our sin…we are as a group and as individuals, incomplete.
The missing pieces of my puzzle may have been found on a back shelf in a cabinet, but the piece we are missing in our lives was been found lying in a manger long ago. This week we consider the PEACE brought to all of man at the advent of Jesus Christ our Savior. It is through his birth, life, death and resurrection that we find the pieces that reconcile our imperfection with the perfection of our God. Through Christ, we find true PEACE and forgiveness for our sin.
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For He himself is our peace…” Ephesians 2:13-14