I slept in till eleven this morning. No pitter pat of feet to hasten my waking. I think I needed the little extra anyway. The junior Skelton entourage left in the wee hours to make its way home today. I lent a hand to the pulling on of little socks and shoes, the tucking into carseats with kisses of blessing and hushed goodbyes. No tears; we were all too sleepy or too focused on catching ferries and double checking that favorite blankies, pillows and soothers were not left behind. Then with a prayer of thanksgiving and petition for their safety and blessing the old van was off with a chirrup and whine into the early morning darkness…
Now the house wears that hollow emptiness of guests just gone, and despite the soothing cello and harp of Christmas medleys, it is all too clear that the festivities are over. Today is for restoring life to the old quiet order. It seems already to be happening. There are no matchbox cars in sight, no stray tires even. No blocks, or lego or coloring books. No dollies, strollers, rattles or stuffies.
Undoubtedly there will be remains—I’ve already found a little lost red T-shirt from last night’s last laundry…and I spy a miniature plastic ‘popcan’ that rolled away to hide amongst the woodstove’s implements…And there are the memories of our being all together again, but all grown up and with babies in tow. It was a rare delight never to be relived. For babies grow, and downy cheeks turn to stubble. Baby coos to deep-throated conversation. “Can I have a cookie please” morphs into an adult avoidance of calories.
So for this morning, this quiet interlude awash in remembering and restoring, I am glad for the time spent last night making play dough and real bread dough together. Never mind that the salt was forgotten in the real thing and we shall have to suffer through a couple loaves of very flat bread. The pink and the blue dough got their share of salt, and play… I’m glad of the sticky hands stuck in the real thing that had to be washed and washed to get un-‘stuck’, until little shirts were wet and had to be taken off and thrown in the laundry, letting little half-clad people run around screaming for sheer delight… They had fun at Grandmom and Grandad’s house. That’s what matters. And they know that they are loved.
And I think they tasted morsels not just of goodies but of grace. There was the night I had to slip out to take out the trash or some such thing. No sooner had I gone, then looking in the sliding glass door I saw a chair had been pushed up to a desktop and little fingers worked to pry sweets from a forbidden tree. Oh the shock and shame of being caught red-handed. He knew he must not touch this tree. There were dozens of other treats and candies and cookies for the asking. Why must he go for this one? It was the Eden story all over again. We had read it together in his new Bible Story book just that morning, how Eve had taken fruit from the forbidden tree and shared it with Adam and been turned out of the garden.
Standing in the doorway I reminded him of it now. He remembered the storyline: the tree, the ‘apple’, the sadness. Now he was reliving it. What’s to be done for this longing for the forbidden which proves to ‘taste yucky’ in the end anyway? It proves us to be sinners all. But I at the door, checked my words of shaming remembering there is grace too. And would he like to have a candy from another tree when Grandmom finishes her chore? It’s his for the asking.
Christmas is about the joy of a Saviour being provided for our reconciliation to God, about a re-opening of the Way to the Tree of Life. And this Grandmom is glad. It would be only a matter of time till I crumbled and gave in to my own temptations spewing ‘madness’ on my progeny. I too would need to be forgiven and offered a sweet from the Tree of Life. Grandmom too would be caught red-handed but forgiven. “Sorry”s and hugs all around—for this is grace and I am glad for it as I sit remembering and restoring my soul…
Wishing you and yours richest blessings and restorative grace this fast receding holiday season…
It was a great holiday for us too....your story was a poignant reminder of how time flies so quickly by, and to treasure the now, and also to treasure His grace!
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