We spent Christmas at my sister and brother-in-law’s cabin. It has become our family tradition. It is such a great time; I always want to leave with the last thing we do being praying together. But I am much too emotional. It takes the 15 miles back to St. James for me to be able to talk without my voice cracking. To try and pray together- it would be embarrassing. I pray silently.
This year I spent a lot of time holding eight month old Sarah. I loved every minute. Even when others would give out funny noises and make faces when she spit up on me, I didn’t mind. Holding her reminded me of holding Ben and Hannah, my other grandchildren, when they were small. And then comes memories of holding Zac and Annie, my children, when they were small. And it all stared with the grandest of “holdings” on July 6, 1972, when Shirley and I decided to start dating. I cherish that memory most fondly.
I wonder what my folks and grand-parents felt when they held me as a small child. There are so many people I miss this time of year. Embracing the thoughts of the coming Kingdom of God is my hope and security. But it would be nice to be held by my mom and my grandparents one more time. I find myself hugging my father longer these days.
What did people experience when they held the infant Jesus? We know a little about Simeon and Anna; but what about the shepherds, and the magi? What about Elizabeth and Zechariah, John the Baptist’s parent? They had some special insight about Jesus because of their relationship with Mary and the circumstances of John’s birth. After the angelic revelations they had experience- how did Mary and Joseph do anything but hold him- physically and in awe.
But my question today- how did the grandparents hold him? No clue, but from a grandparents perspective I truly wonder. Right now I am thinking that one of the great attributes of love, that makes it the greatest, is the ability it gives to hold and be held.
When Jesus return I look forward to holding and being held. I have a lot I want to hold, and a lot I want to be held by, including Jesus on both counts. It’s a good thing forever’s forever.