Seeing And Believing

Then the blind and the lame came to Him in the temple, and He healed them. But when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that He did, and the children crying out in the temple and saying, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant and said to Him, “Do You hear what these are saying?”
And Jesus said to them, “Yes. Have you never read,

‘Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have perfected praise’?”
Matthew 21: 14-16

This part of the Palm Sunday story has always filled me with joy. I love the idea that little children are the paragons of praise. Where the chief priests and scribes saw a threat, the children saw salvation. While Jesus healed the blind, the chief priests and scribes clung to their spiritual blindness and dismissed His power. But the children believed. They saw His wonders and didn’t doubt Him. In this way, children are also paragons of belief. Their willingness to be led—the very definition of innocence—is what makes children so profoundly special. 

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that many favorite children’s games revolve around sight. “Peek-a-boo” is a classic example. Young children simply delight in covering their eyes, pretending that they can’t see or be seen, and then, magically, they appear again as soon as they take their hands away. “I Spy” is another game that comes to mind. What a simple, but effective way to reinforce a young child’s awareness of the colors and shapes of the world around them. These types of games encourage the players to watch and notice—to embrace what’s right in front of us and to rejoice in the fact that it’s there and that we’ve found it.

Continue reading Seeing And Believing

An Easter Reflection

My boys are currently sitting around the table “worldbuilding.” They are drawing fantastic maps and alien races and developing their end-of-the-world scenarios where the inevitable “Chosen One” will need to arise to save the world from utter destruction.

Meanwhile I’m sitting here looking across my windows at the sixteen pictures my kids and I hung up earlier this week showcasing the life of the Lord: His birth, His baptism, His miracles and teachings, His crucifixion, His resurrection, and His glorification.

The real end-of-the-world-averted-by-the-Chosen-One scenario.

But we haven’t always portrayed it that way.

In previous years, especially when my children were young, I had a tendency to shorten the story. We celebrated the Lord’s birth (Yay Christmas!) and then jumped up to His Resurrection (Yay Easter Morning!). We zeroed in on the cheerful parts and glossed over all the pain and hardship. While it may have felt more child-friendly, without context, the Easter story seemed diminished by the abridgment.

It has been powerful over the last few years to place the happy moments back into context. Easter morning is so much more poignant when seen after the nightmare that was the trial and crucifixion.

I came across this quote a few weeks back and was reminded of just how truly epic the Lord’s First Coming was:

(A)s heaven has been formed of the human race, from the first creation until now, so it will be formed and filled up from the same source hereafter. It is indeed possible that the human race on one earth may perish, which comes to pass when they separate themselves entirely from the Divine, for then man no longer has spiritual life, but only natural, like that of beasts; and when man is such no society can be formed, and held bound by laws, since without the influx of heaven, and thus without the Divine government, man would become insane, and rush unchecked into every wickedness, one against another.

But although the human race, by separation from the Divine, might perish on one earth, which, however, is provided against by the Lord, yet still they would continue on other earths… It was said to me from heaven, that the human race on this earth would have perished, so that not one man would have existed on it at this day, if the Lord had not come into the world, and on this earth assumed the Human, and made it Divine; and also, unless the Lord had given here such a Word as might serve for a basis to the angelic heaven, and for its conjunction.

last judgment 10

Wishing you all a blessed Easter Holiday!

On Children’s Book Curation

“Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to reject the evil and choose the good.” (Isaiah 7:15

These days I have the pleasant problem of keeping up with four young readers with varied ages and interests. After dinner is read-aloud time at my house, then the older kids grab flashlights and their own books for “staying-up time” in bed. Our local librarians are good sports, gamely checking in and out the piles of books we chew through each week.

There’s an art to finding the right book for a child: a glossy encyclopedia of cat breeds for a kitten-crazy kid or a sprawling fantasy epic for a dreamy one. There’s also an art to filtering out the wrong books. “Censorship” usually refers to an action by a governing body or institution, so let’s call how I choose the books coming into my house “curation.”

Because I do curate, as almost every parent does. If those debating book bans can agree on one thing, it’s that parents care deeply about who gets to put what in front of their children. My kids have invited some curation; one of them doesn’t want any snakes in a book. But some parental curation happens without my kids being aware of it, and every once in a while it happens against their will. 

When my kids push back against limits to book or internet access, I fall back on a food metaphor: would I give their four-year-old sibling free rein in a grocery store? That usually gets a laugh, and they’re open to hearing why I wouldn’t give them unfettered access to all sections of the library. As kids get older, I can invite them more and more into the process of choosing the food they consume—and their food for thought. Curation turns into a conversation. I want to equip my kids to think critically about books and other media, because I won’t always be there to ask, “What does this story glorify?” or “What is the creator trying to tell readers?”

Continue reading On Children’s Book Curation

Walking in The Light, Revisited

About a year and a half ago I shared an article here titled ’Walking in the Light’ (Nov 16, 2022). In it I mused about walking along the sidewalk in the morning sun, eyes completely shut, absorbing the sunshine and trusting in the Lord’s guidance, basking in His love and wisdom. Ahh, that was an idyllic time! Those walks were so nice, and the insights were even more delightful.

I’ve been ‘walking in the light’ pretty much every day since then, too – literally, engaging in that practice of walking with my eyes shut on that stretch of sidewalk. It’s been nice, peaceful, uneventful,……….

……That is, until I walked smack into a telephone pole, on a morning walk one week before Christmas 2023! 😮

No joke. I hit that thing hard, too: I wasn’t going very fast (I was walking with my eyes shut, after all; I may be dumb, but I’m not that dumb!), and I feel like I briefly felt the pole with my hands – I didn’t hold them up in front of me, they were just casually hanging by my side, but somehow I think I touched the pole in front of me with my hands? I mentally acknowledged that there was a telephone pole there,.. and yet apparently this message didn’t make it as far as the rest of my body, because my forehead hit that telephone pole with a mighty whack! I took a step back and kind of shook it off, chuckling at myself (in part for the benefit of any onlookers 😬 – of which I don’t think there were any, but just in case..), but even as I walked the remaining 5 minutes – not even?! – to my house, I could see the welt ballooning over my left eye, beginning to obstruct my vision. I applied arnica cream as soon as I got home (after taking some pictures, for posterity’s sake, y’know), and the goose egg actually did subside as the day wore on! ….I didn’t think to apply the cream around my eye, however, and I didn’t anticipate the blood sinking down and pooling around my eye socket,…. I don’t know if it would’ve made a difference, if I’d slathered it with cream, but I ended up with a black eye. 🙄 Even now, nearly two months later (at the time of writing), there’s no lingering outward sign of trauma – thankfully! – but I can still feel slight tenderness and a bit of a lump over my left eyebrow.

Continue reading Walking in The Light, Revisited