This 5-year old girl smiled at herself with such a delight, I had not seen in a long time. It warmed me from the inside and I could not help but smile at her.

She was placed diagonal to me at the hairdresser where I went just before new year. I stayed home for the first time in maybe 20 years to study and rest. The hairdresser appointment fitted right into this. So here I was sitting near to this girl who had entered the salon just after me, together with her dad.

Her dad set nearby on a chair while the hairdresser lady started to work on this sweet little girl with long beautiful hair. Every time, and it happened every so often, this girl would look into the mirror and with utter delight would smile and giggle at herself. She did not think this was weird. She just loved looking at herself and beamed with the widest smile I had not observed in years. She was enjoying herself and the reason she enjoyed herself was herself.

Once in a while she would look to dad who affirmingly nodded at her and she smiled even wider, giggling, laughing and being totally captivated by herself. She just loved being herself, with daddy nearby.

Right at that moment I thought, “when was the last time I looked into the mirror and just smiled with pure delight about myself?” With my father nearby making me smile even more as he showed his approval?

I wonder if Hagar after God met her in the desert felt like smiling back at God as he nods at her with approval? Hagar, the run-away slave fled from her master into the hottest place possible together with her son. Ready to die with no possibility to survive. In her misery, God met her and in that hopeful encounter she called God, “the one who sees me”. God had seen her and watched over her. And through this restored Hagar, her son, her relationships and her future.

This little girl at the hairdresser made me think of the watchword for 2023, chosen by the Moravians (Herrnhuter Losung) which comes exactly from the story of God´s encounter with Hagar which we find in Genesis 16:13, “the God who sees me”.

When God sees you, he smiles with delight. No matter how you feel about yourself or in what misery you might be in. When you experience his love and acceptance, may we smile with delight just as this little girl did. God approves of us unconditionally. He is the God who sees you! What a beautiful promise for 2023 and beyond!

(picture from Pexels)