19 December 2012

But Emmanuel...

"I want to dream about kitties...and puppies...and butterflies."

What is that poem? Sugar and spice and everything nice, that's what little girls are made of?  Amelie's description of what she wants to dream about fulfills all that you might imagine for a sweet little girl.  I can't remember the last time I thought for more than a few seconds about kitties and puppies and butterflies, let alone had a desire for dreams about them. 

But really I can't put a value on this innocence and wonder in the world's beauty.  Her sweet mind has no blackness when it stops and thinks.  Past hurts, bitterness, unforgiveness, knowledge of atrocities in the world, none of this clouds her mind.  She loves and dreams freely without any comprehension of bad guys in this world.

I pray for the students in Newton who had this sweet innocence sucked away in moments.  Those survivors now know bad at a level beyond the scariest Disney movie they've ever seen.  Adults know evil at a new level perhaps greater than we could imagine. 

I am still horrified. Each day is a new morning and there is a brief time between when I wake up and when my mind reminds me of the past days happenings. And then... heaviness sets in again.  For the families and friends of those lost last Friday I doubt they have even that moment of oblivion. I can't imagine they have been able to shake the reality since the moment it happened.

And now Christmas is next week.  The biggest celebration of the year is almost here. Although I am  far removed, that cloud of sadness hangs low and evil regularly threatens to steal away the season.
We sang this verse from the familiar song, O Come O Come Emmanuel at church on Sunday:

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny
From depths of Hell Thy people save
And give them victory o'er the grave
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

Never before during a Christmas season have I resonated so intimately with the hatred of evil and the celebration of God's power to defeat it. 

The birth of Jesus kicked off the death march of our enemy. 
Jesus was born into this world to defeat evil. 
His birth brought victory over Satan's tyranny. 

Even though the world has been shaken by an awful display of evil's ugliness, there is good news that evil doesn't win.

The pain is real, unimaginable, and really too much to bear.  I almost hesitate to say a "but," because I don't want to minimize any of the suffering. 

BUT Emmanuel has come and that is the only hope I find any peace in.

O come, Thou Day-Spring
Come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

O come, Thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home
Make safe the way that leads on high
And close the path to misery
Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, o Israel

12 December 2012


Last night my boy stayed up until "midnight."  And I am so delighted!

There would be no delight if these words described my littlest boy, but when Asher tells me he stayed up until "midnight" reading, that thrills me and stirs something giddy inside.

Still a boy at six and a half, but Asher regularly reminds me of his progress to maturity.  Now granted the Captain Underpants series is hardly the highest in literature nor what my idealistic imagination saw him reading for his first solo books, but I couldn't be happier that he is falling in love with reading.

I might be slightly biased because of my own passion for reading and writing and everything related, but this joy of seeing him discover the worlds available inside a book could be my best Christmas gift (although I am open to challengers!).  From the time of his conception, I read to my boy hoping he would become a ravenous reader. I don't know if he is quite there yet, but the way his toothless smile lit up his face when he described his late night adventures has me believing he might just be hooked.

Earlier this fall, I watched Asher discover a love of swinging.  Maybe he is getting a bit old to delight so openly in the freedom of soaring into the sky, but I simply couldn't get enough of watching him swing as high as he possibly could from my kitchen window.  Even in the dark of night, he would ask to go swing.  I know he felt like he was touching the stars and that feeling of being able to touch the stars is what I want him to always know.

Although I remember loving to read and constantly devouring books, I can't remember my own discovery of reading to myself.  This discovering of new good things that we love spreads out further and further as we get older.  But I am realizing that possibly even greater than discovering for myself is watching the wonder and excitement in my kids as they discover things they love.  Daily I lead them to places I want them to love on their own and when it clicks, when they show that they get it, my job is a success. 

This opportunity to witness when they "get it" is possibly one of the best side benefits of parenting. 

I wonder if this is a piece of how God receives the glory He deserves.  Watching His children discover what He is leading them to must bring joy to Him. Does He feel as giddy as I do when we finally "get it," when we stop and wonder at how perfectly His plan fits together?   If this discovery does bring Him honor then I pray for great discoveries into more and more of His character and the hope He promises to us -- especially this Christmas season.