I saw a picture of love over the weekend and didn’t even fully realize it until later. Friday night Anna, our three kids and I gathered in the family room for our annual tradition of decorating the tree together. Some friends of ours passed on wonderful advise to us in our first year of marriage. They encouraged us to collect ornaments from places we visit and special memories we make together as a couple and we have continued this tradition with our children. So each year we decorate together and relive some of the memories. It is always a highlight as we begin the Advent season!
Before we began decorating, I read a page out of our daily reading from Advent and Christmas. As I started reading Elijah, our 10-year old, saddled up next to me on the couch and followed along on the page. I noticed that he would look at me, then at the words, paying attention to what his father was doing. When it came to the scripture reading he enthusiastically asked, “Can I read that part Dad?” And so he read:
“And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint-hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (1 Thes 5:14-18)
Those were not the easiest words to get through for a 10 year-old, but the moment was heartening and instructive. Through reflecting on that moment with my son, I realize that I got a picture of God the Father with me, his son. In my growing relationship with God I find myself more and more sitting very close to him, doing my best to listen. Then like Elijah I often ask a question. I guess in a symbolic way you could say that I look at God the Father and read along over his shoulder. At some point I often ask to “read” and fumble my way through.
I wonder if God the Father sits with me in silence and enjoys watching me learn, doing my best to emulate Him. I enjoyed that moment with Elijah so much, and I also know that God’s love for me far outweighs my love for my son.
A week into Advent I find myself very grateful for a God who is Father to us all, whether we know it or not.