... And then, seemingly from left field, these situations emerge where I have these deep, poignant heart-pangs and I'm reduced to mush and I miss Andrew and Naomi so much that I can't help it - sometimes I cry.
Case in point bedtime last night. Once in a while I'll read Rebekah a chapter or a story from "In My Heart I Carry A Star", and so I read a chapter from week three, "God is the Strongest." Tucked up against the end of the reading there was this story about putting the children to bed when they were very young - I'll paste those few paragraphs at the end of this post - and for some reason my heart overflowed and I couldn't even finish reading.
Good grief! It's not like it was the first time I'd heard the story! What does it say when I can't even read my own writing for crying out loud?
Well, I know what it says:
- It says "The love and the bond Rebekah and I and God created in this family over all those years together was powerful - and that it still is".
- It says "Something deep and true about what love means has been seeded into that particular story."
- It says "It's all right to let the truth about love wash over me sometimes, and that love is definitely the strongest power on earth."
- It says that I am blessed...
We really are a very ordinary family. There’s not much that is so wonderful or so terrible that it overwhelms us. Mostly life turns out to be – you know - the nitty-gritty of ups and downs and normal everyday events that we share and deal with and move on.
But there is nothing average about the love that binds us all together. There is nothing average about the commitment Rebekah and I have for one another. There is nothing average about our God, or about Jesus, or the extraordinarily amazing cascade of possibilities that God introduced to this world that first Christmas...
...The children were asleep, Rebekah and I had enjoyed our tea together, and the evening slipped into night. Much later, after I had walked the dog and put out the garbage and locked up the house, I attended to those few final details before brushing my teeth and crawling into bed. The lights were off, the blinds were closed, and the kitchen was clean, everything pretty-much in its proper place.
The house seemed extra quiet as I tip-toed down the creaky wooden hallway from Naomi’s room after taking a long look at both sleeping children; it’s a joy that can still cap off my day so beautifully when we are fortunate enough to have them home. As I crept away, almost out of earshot, I heard Naomi - half-asleep and into the stillness:
“Daddy, I love you. Daddy I do love God; God is the strongest. Goodnight.”
And so she fell back into sleep again. God is the strongest.
You bet God is strong. Yes, God loves me that way; God loves all of us that way. Even our children knew it, when they were so young and we lived on Piedmont Road, way back at the beginning of time. It’s one of the reasons I can say with utmost confidence, that while our average family does indeed have average experiences every average day, we know with a non-average certainty that God loves us, that our God is the strongest - so much stronger than the strong - and that God’s strength is a powerful and a sturdy love.
We know that this love is a strong love, and that we are exceptional because of that fact. We are God’s children, and there is absolutely nothing in the universe that can possibly compromise that kind of powerful, life-changing, loving, strongest of Christmas truths.
PRAYER: We approach you as humble people, God. We feel blessed, we feel supported, and we are encouraged by our knowledge of your strong love for us. It’s comforting to realize that your commitment to us is far stronger than the limits of our faith. We pray because we love you, and because we want to know you more completely. Amen
- "In My Heart I Carry A Star: stories for Advent" (pp 103-104)