It began as a typical playground squabble. "Yes." "No!" "Yes!" "No!" "Yes!" "NO!" "Yes, yes, yes!" "No, no, NO!" "YES infinity! So there."
Boy crosses obstinate arms, chin down, narrowed eyes boring laser-holes. Girl perches sassy fingers on hips, pursed lips smirking superiority.
Enter Babysitter. That would be Me.
"Hey, guys, do you know what infinity means?"
Stubborn stares. Girl's face says it all. 'Course I know what infinity means. It means I won. Duh! Boy's voice droops in unjust defeat. "It's more than anybody can count. All at once." Leave it to a child to sum up deep truth in profoundly simple terms.
"That's absolutely right! You can't measure it. Do you know what I realized the other day about infinity? If you add five thousand to infinity, it's still infinity. And if you take AWAY ten million? It's still infinity!"
There is bonding in the mesmerizing struggle between cynicism and wonder. Is this for real? Forgotten is the petty disagreement. Earthly things pass away in gazing at transcending realities.
"God's like that. He's Forever."
Giggles erase anger, and we move inside. "When was God born?"
"God has always been there, and always will be. That's called 'eternal.' But—he was born. Do you remember what the angel told Mary to name him?"
Understanding dawns. "Jesus?"
"Yes. Jesus was born when God, who is eternal, like infinity-forever, chose to come into our world as a man."
Glances. "You mean a baby...."
"Were you a baby once?"
Boy-eyes and Girl-eyes dart to baby photos framed on the wall and echo the smiles of their former selves.
"Just like you didn't stay a baby, Jesus didn't stay a baby. He grew up."
Girl-face counts floorboards. "But he died. So he wasn't forever."
"He did die; he died for us. But he didn't stay dead any more than he stayed a baby! Remember about infinity? How even if we take a lot away—even if we try to subtract ten million YEARS—it's still infinity? Jesus was God, and he had so much Forever-Life inside that he couldn't stay dead. He is still forever alive right now, and always will be." Leave it to words spilling before conscious thought to frame forever-truth in finite syllables. I'm preaching to myself as much as to these child-size eternal souls before me.
Hush hovers. Eternity is a large bite for growing minds to chew on. And my mind grows too.
Energy quivers, and toys call from the next room, and the kids answer the call. Their voices filter back to me all sing-songy as I follow. "In-FIN-ity! In-FIN-ity! In-FIN-ity!..." And the Seed just planted nestles deep in heart-soil to their tune. And the Seed will be watered. And it will grow roots. And it will reach for Son-light and bear its fruit. Because infinity-Seed doesn't stay dead.
The film is wrapped, and so are the Christmas gifts.
And there are other gifts. Gifts that sometimes I forget to see, appreciate, delight in. Smelling blossoms in October snow, watching the sun rise out my car window on a dawn well-cracked, and hearing faint strains of teasing laughter float from the kitchen. Small gifts that point to the Great Gift—breathing bundle of Love swaddled and worshiped and sacrificed—the gracious, glorious God-Gift sung about across millennia proclaiming I AM among us.
Christmas: celebrating Christ Jesus, our Messiah. We celebrate Christ come to man, Power-Word wrapped in earth-skin. (John 1) We celebrate Christ the chosen Lamb, all most good and pure and innocent atoning for sin-cost beyond our repair. (John 1:29) We celebrate Christ in us, rapturous, holy mystery, the very hope of glory. (Col. 1:27) And it is right that we rejoice!
And there are other days. Days that sometimes I forget to stop and wonder, revel in, celebrate.
To fully celebrate HIM.
There are blessings every day for the counting, gifts of wonder to unwrap, give thanks for. Cold hands prickling, thawing by air of firelight, leftovers warming twice with memories, and sore muscles promising strength on the morrow. And again I say: Rejoice! ...For indeed, the Lord is near. (Phil. 4:4-5) Behold, NOW is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2) And day after day, while it is yet Today (Heb. 3:12-13), I need the encouragement, the warning, to leave my heart soft to the touch of heaven's grace, my eyes wide open to God-glory now, my fingertips feeling the edges of planet-paper to fold—yes, even rip it back to reveal the depth of his goodness!
I long to see with G-D vision. To look through God's glasses and reel from the absence of mortal myopia. To behold his Glory, his Grace, and his Goodness face to face, and live deeply in the reality of those dimensions. How I see will change how I live. And I see dimly now, know dimly now, but as I look for and gaze on his reflections around me, I am transformed from the inside out. (1 Cor. 13:12; 2 Cor. 3:18) I want to eye with heaven's measure, and prove grace to myself and others. (Rom. 12:2) Because clear sight is the difference between a light-filled life and a midnight existence. (Luke 11:34-35)
Unwrapping these other-day, every-day, holy-day gifts is a treasure hunt. My resolution? Find real Treasure, and give my heart to it. (Matt. 6:21) Even if--especially if—I find it in swaddling clothes, bound in common-place wrapping. God with us. God with me. God in me and around me and wrapping me in his arms of heaven-born, down-to-earth love.
What will I dare to unwrap today?