Monday, November 26, 2012

An Old Table and an Old Memory

One of my very favorite Christmas memories tooks place at my grandmother's house. Every year we would go to Granny and B-bob's (my grandfather) house for family Christmas on my mother's side of the family. I would play with my younger cousins while we watched my uncles and older cousins play football in the yard. Everyone of us had at least one special ornament we would look for on Granny's tree. It was special because it was there just for us. 

Then we would open presents and the children would disappear with their new toys while the adults played a game of dirty santa. We anxiously awaited the day we would be able to join them. Although probably not as anxiously as we awaited the day we were taller than Granny. That's when you could have your food in the living room with the grown ups. :P

My grandfather passed away when I was just seven years old, so this memory is one from when I as quite little. I was probably five at the oldest. B-bob stooped down and scooped my onto his lap, then did the same to my little brother. We each sat on one of his knees as B-bob started to sing. We had these large bells in our hands. I am not even sure where we got them, but as my grandfather belted out the words to Jingle Bells, we offered him the greatest and loudest accompaniment we could afford. 

And that's all I remember. That simple memory has kept my grandfather's face in the forefront of my mind every Christmas season for the last 14 years. I still remember the feeling of his old but steady hands under my armpits, and the jolt of upward movement from  he floor to his slender knee. 

This same compassionate gesture of stooping down to lift me up is one that I see often in my relationship with my Heavenly Father. King David echoes my sentiments in one of his many songs written to the Lord:

Psalm 113 "Hallelujah! Give praise, servants of Yahweh; praise the name of Yahweh.  Let the name of Yahweh be praised both now and forever.  From the rising of the sun to its setting, let the name of Yahweh be praised.  Yahweh is exalted above all the nations, His glory above the heavens. Who is like Yahweh our God— the One enthroned on high,  who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?  He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the garbage pile  in order to seat them with nobles— with the nobles of His people.  He gives the childless woman a household, making her the joyful mother of children. Hallelujah!"

My pastor once described the definition of this term "stooping" to that of a loving parent stooping down to care for a child. 

David makes a similar analogy in Psalm 18: "He reached down from heaven and took hold of me; He pulled me out." (verse 16)

 The greatest example of how God stooped down in loving kindness to us is his coming to earth. In a humble place, into a humble body, a humble family, a humble child was born. But unlike other newborns, this was the Son of God, who had chosen this dirty, mediocre, humble life. And he did so for us. 

  The annual (if not year-round) celebration of his birth means so many things to us. He is our hope of being reconciled to our Heavenly father. He is the embodiment of a love that can not be rivaled. He is Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. 

  In the pictures are the Table Runner and Trio Tea Lights Set that were provided to me by DaySpring. When I received these items in the mail, I couldn't wait to put them on our dining room table. This table is one of the most special possession I own. It was made by my grandfather by hand and given to my mother, who gave it, then, to me. I can only imagine him in my mind, on his hands and knees, kneeling to craft each individual piece that makes this sturdy (and heavy) solid wood table. 

I can imagine him stooping down in a workshop in much the same gentle way he stooped down to plop me onto his lap at Christmas time. His gentle embrace reminds me of the gentle embrace God puts around us in times of need, the comfort he provides us as our Heavenly father. 

  I was also blessed to receive this Tabletop Advent Devotional  and Christmas Ornament. As I skimmed through the devotional, I found this page that particularly stood out to me because of the focus this post was beginning to take in my mind  

In the same loving way B-bob crafted this table, Abba Father crafted each unique part of me. And although I am not big or strong enough to pull myself into the Father's lap, he willingly came down to us. He stoops down to take us into his arms. 

 All products were provided by DaySpring, but all ideas and opinions are my own. All products can be purchased at the DaySpring website,  linked above. 



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