Last week for Thanksgiving, our family traveled about 40 miles to my wife’s grandmother’s house where most of her extended family gathered for fellowship and feasting. Our kids spent the afternoon playing with cousins and grazing the desert table, along with the adults. It helps me recall memories of when I was 5 years old, riding 4 miles to my grandparents home and doing the same thing as my kids did this past week, eating as much food as we liked, prepared by loving hands. I think of the weeks before Christmas when my mother would bake an array of cookies, candy, and other sweets to spoil us and make the season seem extra special as a child. Though my mother has been gone from my life for several years now, those memories were my first understanding of what unconditional love was like in real life. We have had a new 9 month old in our family these past two weeks, and I am also reminded of how helpless an infant can be, and how instinctively my wife knew what to do to care for him, along with some help from the rest of the family. What things come to mind when you think of how your mother cared for you?
Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. Isaiah 45:15
This past week, former first lady Rosalynn Carter passed away from this life to the next, and I heard a story of the relationship she had with her son, both early in life and over the past few years, when he became her caregiver. I felt odd when I saw my own mother decline in health rapidly, and there was not much I or any of my family could do, but be present with her. When we are loved well by our parents, we have the desire to see them finish well in life also. As we approach the Advent season, we are also reminded of the role that Jesus’ mother played in his birth and life, to the point of his crucifixion and death. She cared for him like any mother would.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing. Luke 13:34
Though they are imperfect, our parents often sacrificed much to make sure we were safe, fed, and educated in important things as we grew up. There was a time when my siblings and I were quite critical of our parents mistakes and shortcomings in life, but we also realized there was not much we could do to change the past, except to forgive them of those things that offended us, no matter how big or small. When I became born again in college, I also came to understand the role that God plays in our lives of a perfect Father. I also saw He was able to fulfill a role of loving me in ways where my earthy father or mother fell short at times. When we come to understand that sacrificial love He has shown us, demonstrated to us by our mothers, we are much better able to love and forgive others in our lives today. May you know and experience that kind of love each and every day!
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. 1 John 3:1
Yours in Christ,