As the days went by, I found that my eyes were drawn like a magnet to his face every time I went by (which, being in the kitchen, was quite often). The image quickly changed from just a great picture to a powerful reminder that He is truly here, with me, in my kitchen, at this very moment.
I see it and remember when I'm making breakfast.
...when Thomas needs me to stop what I'm doing and give him 5 minutes of uninterrupted attention.
... when I'm tempted to fire off an ill-tempered remark at one of the kids.
... when I'm homeschooling.
... as I sweep the floor, wipe down messes, and prepare the next meal.
... as I settle down for a quiet moment, only to have it shattered by the urgent cries of someone needing something.
Each time I cast a quick glance -- just a microsecond -- and find that I'm looking into the face of Jesus, and remembering that it is all for Him.
I need these reminders. I need some sort of cue -- a picture, a song, kneeling, the smell of incense -- to bring me back to reality and an awareness of His presence.... and His presence has been so strong for me this week. Jesus has truly been in my kitchen.
A second benefit to having this particular picture on my counter has been a renewed awe over the Incarnation. Occasionally at Mass we bow during the Nicene Creed when we say:
...For us men and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven.
By the power of the Holy Spirit He was born of the Virgin Mary, and became man.
That always confused me. I thought it would be more appropriate to bow during the next section, where we talk about His suffering, death, and burial. As I have been meditating on this picture, however, the bow seems well-placed.
Our God became man.
There's nothing like a hot summer day, filled with kids with peanut butter sandwich remnants on their cheeks, hands sticky with popsicle juice, hair soaked with sweat, bodies smelling like bug spray, who want you to pick them up and kiss away another boo-boo, to remind you of the absolute earthiness of life.
It's messy, chaotic, and inconvenient.
And Our Lord willingly descended into this.
He is truly and completely God, and yet is now, and forever will be, truly human.
As I tend to the needs of my sweaty, dirty, sticky kids, I know that He knows exactly what that is like. He embraced all of it willingly in order to save us.
What an awesome God He is.