Have you ever gone through a season without touch? We can easily take it for granted but there are people all around us who are so hungry for a hug, an arm draped over their back, or a hand held. I remember a time in my life when I could empathize; it was holiday season many years ago, and my guy and I had broken up (before marriage). My extended family had gathered at my parents’ home and we were all couples, except me. Hands were held, hugs were shared and love pats were given but I remained untouched. There was no malice on the part of my family, they just didn’t know how to regard me at the time in my life, and I felt it.
Science has shown us the vital importance of human contact to newborn babies and to the infirm, but Jesus reminds us that the simple touch can bring healing to the hurting and lonely, as well. We read a passage from Matthew about how he healed a leper by simply touching him, an act that no one did because touching a leper greatly increased the possibility of becoming one.
A dear friend became a widower a couple of years ago and I would see him each Sunday at church. Shortly after his wife’s death, I approached him and asked for a hug, then told him to find me every Sunday to get another. This sweet man would watch and wait for me every week to get his hug, just a quick connection that said, “I see you and I care that you are here.”
I’d like to challenge you to look around this holiday season, find that someone who needs a touch from you.
When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. Matthew 8:1-3