My husband and I have been married for 14 years – most of it blissful, although we’ve had some less blissful parts.
He’s surprised me with many thoughtful gifts over the years, but the best of all was a set of satin finish silverware. I hadn’t chosen the pattern; in fact, I doubt I’d even seen it before. This unexpected cutlery was a gift my husband had secretly saved his weekly allowances to buy, not just to replace our cheap, well-used forks and spoons. No, he had made the sacrifice for these utensils for a bigger purpose: to replace my feeling of being ‘second’.
My husband’s grandma kept a tradition of buying each grandchild an elegant silverware set for their wedding. Not to accuse grandma of being a jerk, because she truly wasn’t, but we didn’t get silverware for our wedding gift. Why? Because I am my husband’s second wife. The silverware offer had already been cashed in. It was a one time deal. I didn’t count and our marriage wasn’t good enough, or at least that’s how I felt.
I desperately wanted to shrug it off like it didn’t matter, but it did. Of course I knew I was marrying a divorced man, so there is no need to pity me, but truth be told, being second sucks. People discount you, causing you to question your value. You feel ashamed and far less than perfect. If there has been any great benefit at all, it is the life lessons I’ve learned as a result of being second.
Believe it or not Jesus came to earth to be second. He came to serve us. He came to save us. Jesus came to live among us, to die for us, and to ruin death’s grip, so we would no longer be ‘less than’. Before Jesus’ sacrificial love, we could have tried with all of our might to follow the rules of goodness, but we were never going to be good enough to fix our broken relationship with our Father. For all of our effort, we would always be lacking. We have a way to the Father only because Jesus put us first in a manner so extraordinary, there remains no comparison. Could there be a greater gift?
My silverware doesn’t erase the past. Within the confines of time, I will always be the second wife, but the important truth is, I am loved as the one and only. I know this, and this love quiets my fear, giving me the freedom and energy to concentrate on loving in return.
Jesus came as second to confirm His great love for us. Despite our imperfections, we are capable of love because He so perfectly loved us first. The love of our Father and the love of our Savior give meaning to Christmas, and significance to every day in between.
Merry Christmas, reader.