Opening up our Christmas book, reading what fun to anticipate later in the day.
And probably my favorite: sitting with Aquaman in our Christmas book nook, reading from the Jesus Storybook Bible while he eats his jellied Christmas wreath and counting the little bags that are left until the birthday of our Savior.
It's obvious that he relishes that time as much as I do. Surveying the pictures, asking questions. Furrowing his brow in the middle parts, and smiling ear to ear at the end parts.
Last night it was the story of God parting the Red Sea. He examined the picture carefully of the Egyptians covered by the Sea as they tried to pursue the Israelites. Then he looked at the previous picture with the chariots, and said "Mom, what about the horses? They didn't make bad choices. Did God let them get out of the water?" I paused for a while, working on my answer, and he decided to help me out: "I know. I bet God sent a crane down there, and just LIFTED them right out of the water. I bet that's what He did. Because God is so good."
I love the simplicity and innocence of his faith. I love his sense of justice. And I shudder at the way it is going to be tested over the years as he comes to see, as I went on to explain to him: that sometimes people, and even animals, suffer just because someone ELSE has made a bad choice.
But God can, and will, make it up to them. 10x, 100x, 1000x if they have submitted to Him.
He seemed quite satisfied with that. Dancing wildly around the room, shouting: "I KNOW that already, I KNOW that Jesus loves me." and leaping haphazardly into a hug before I carried him up the stairs to bed.
I can see now why Jesus said you have to become like a child to enter the kingdom of heaven.
And I see how he meets their needs in special ways.
"As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust." -Psalm 103:13-14
There has been nothing in life that has shown me more about the love and mercy and grace of God toward His children than having my own.
Last week, our Christmas plans (and pretty much all others) screeched to a halt when Aquaman contracted Hand, Foot, and Mouth Disease. I had heard of it briefly before, but imagined it to be a brief illness with some fever and a rash. Not something that would leave my son convulsing in pain for hours on end in the middle of the night. The 1st night it was the high fever that kept him up in the early hours of the evening. As he thrashed around in my arms, I prayed, but the supplications were too much for my sensitive child. I could feel his anxiety building in his tense body as I asked God to heal him and make him feel better. So I changed tack. I told God what I already knew. That He WOULD make Aquaman feel better. And thanked him for it. And literally in the instant that I said it, a sweat broke out on the forehead of my little boy. His body relaxed and cooled, and he drifted off to sleep.
I was so amazed, but not surprised. Because I have been hearing Him call and speak to my son these past several weeks with an intensity of one who loves deeply, and wants to show Himself. And there is something in the way He speaks to the young. Proving that He can be trusted. Babes are indeed fed with the ease of milk before they progress to more solid faith-shaking foods.
And what love!
For what is faith but looking back and trusting past Goodness for the future. And what Goodness!
God taking on flesh. The weakest, most humble form. Lying in a manger.
"No crying He makes" goes the song, but I'll bet He cried. When His flesh hit the cool night air. When He felt hungry for the very first time. And lonely.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are- but yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need."
Other than a few little spots on his hands now, there is little evidence that Aquaman was writhing in misery just a few days ago. And other than a few spots around his mouth, The Dude has fared amazingly well too (thank You, God, for breast milk).
Tonight we'll have a Holiday Hayride around the lights of Wickham Park. Tomorrow a train ride at the library and "snow" at Gleason Park. The Joy of this wonderful Holiday season continues. Only heightened by the bumps in the road of illness and long nights.
The other night, I had this dream. It only lasted a few seconds. I was standing outside, and the clouds parted. I could feel something happening. Something wonderful. And I screamed "Yes. YES!!" and threw my hands into the air. I would have thrown my whole body if I could.
And when I woke up, I thanked Jesus that He's coming back. If not today, or tomorrow, or in my lifetime: soon. Not as a baby this time. But as He deserves. I thanked him for the little joys and the little pains here on earth. And the reminder that this isn't all there is. Not by a longshot.
And THAT is the best news of all.