This holiday season has been very different from past holiday seasons. I didn't think about how much it would up the pace to throw a birthday right in the middle of Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Zachary must have thought it would be more exciting that way...and I suppose that is one way to put it. ;)
My son is very blessed. I think about this fact often. There are so many people who love him and show him love on a regular basis. I am so thankful for that. However, I hesitate to call it "blessed" because many children don't have that luxury...and I don't think that they have been less "blessed" by God. I think they have been less taken care of by people. God has the same amount of love and blessing for all children. He is with them always and loves them unconditionally. He is also hoping that we will help display it for Him and unfortunately - we fail a lot.
So have you ever been to a birthday party for a 1 year old?..who is an only child?...who is the 1st grandchild on both sides of the family?...who has a large and loving church family?.... well if you haven't let me just tell you it is quite a sight. :) Zachary has enough toys to last him the next 4 years of his life AT LEAST. Fortunately, we didn't do much for Christmas because it seemed unnecessary and overkill. I'm glad we made that decision because he doesn't need ANY more. Haha! He was more than taken care of on his birthday.
My grandmother recently told me that my mom would have my sister and me pack up toys we didn't play with anymore to take to "children who didn't have many toys." I am glad that she did that and glad to hear about it. Zachary will do the same. This conversation made me think about what I hope Zachary will learn from something like that.
We have discussed it often, and if there is one thing that Chris and I hope to see Zachary embrace and understand it is not "our denomination" or a perfect/acceptable appearance, or the ability to have the right answers or make the best decision all the time.....it is the desire and ability to love - and TRULY love everyone he can. The ability to understand how his actions can and do effect others and the desire to show them hope through love and compassion and empathy.
There are many things that we want for our child, but if he understands and displays that - the love of Jesus, the love that Jesus spent his life giving, the essence and hope of God - then I don't care what it looks like, because it will be glorifying his Father and truly making the world a better place.
Chris and I have experienced this love and the impact that sharing this love has on life and the world around us, and it is our deepest desire to pass this on to our children.
Sometimes I am afraid that we will fail.
We aren't perfect. We mess up.We don't do a perfect job of displaying this love 24/7. As much as it stinks every parent gives their child "issues" in some way. :)
BUT we don't have to be perfect. We have grace just like they do. What better way is there to teach your children about the grace of God than to let them see you experience it, right?
Is that fun?? Nope! But it is real and it is essential. If more parents and adults could let go of pride and say "I messed up" or "I was wrong" or "I need to apologize and ask forgiveness" I think it would make a dramatic difference in the lives of our families. I hope to do this. (big aspirations, I know ;) ..I am sure I will have plenty of opportunities!)
Bottom line, I am thankful for the love that my son is surrounded by, and I hope that it changes his life. I hope that it stands out more than the harshness and pain that he will inevitably feel in his life here. I hope that it causes him to ask questions and to really SEE others - and in turn to give them real love.
I can help with that...but I can't make it happen. What a load off to accept that its not fully my responsibility. God is with him and God is love. What more could I ask for?
Hopefully, as we seek to help Zachary understand what it means to love your neighbor...some of it will rub off on us too. ;) We are still learning! ..and always will be.