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More family stories

by davesandel on December 30th, 2019

More family stories

Monday, December 30, 2019

Joseph and Mary came to the temple to present Jesus to the Lord. In the temple there lived a prophetess called Anna who was advanced in years, and now as a widow she never left the temple. She worshipped night and day with fasting and prayer. She saw Jesus and gave thanks to God. Anna spoke about the child to all.

And the child Jesus grew and became strong, filled with wisdom, and the favor of God was upon him.

– From Luke 2

From the rising to the setting of the sun the kids around us rocked and rolled.  Aly practiced new judo moves with Aki, and Miles jumped on top of both of them. Jasper smiled, eyes wide, at everybody holding him. And he cried with everybody holding him. Jack watched football and basketball. Bravo Bears! The Illini got a win. The Forty-niners pulled it out.

It got pretty noisy sometimes. And sometimes the living room felt completely full of peace.

Aly and Miles went to his Sunday School class together. She was his “helper.” Jack came with us to the adult service, where we listened to Albert Tate rock his church, and ours, with a Lazarus sermon. We opened gifts, lots of candy and Legos and books, ate pizza and fried chicken and most of us took long naps.

Our kids left on a double date, while Margaret and I spent a couple hours with four grandkids. Simple, right? There were various reasons why, but in the midst of two kids crying Aly said, “Wow, I have such a headache. My head just burns!” We prayed for her. Jack and Aly prayed for the crying boys. They kept crying, but everybody felt better. At least I did.

Miles and I spent a while together in his bedroom, reading about a mouse who wants a cookie. I told him a story about spending a day on the garbage truck with Bert and Ed, complete with lunch his mom made for them. We sang songs. “Let’s go riding in a car, car. Away in a manger. Go tell it on a mountain.

Aly kept doing all she could. She played, and cuddled, she changed a diaper and tried to explain two games to Miles. She kept her cool, and she didn’t give up. Eventually her headache went away. We figured out the new bottle Jasper was using, so finally he could get some milk while his mom was away. We never did understand the swaddling clothes. But after the milk he laid there happy until his mommy and daddy got home.

Watching Aly, I thought of Anna in the temple, who lost her husband before they had any kids. She dedicated her life to serving God, caring for the priests, maintaining the candles, sweeping the floor of the temple, whatever there was to be done. And on this day of Jesus’ dedication she held the baby.

Anna must have been surprised when her heart leaped. Like that unborn baby John, she too knew Jesus in a heartbeat. And like Simeon a moment before, she could sing with certainty, “Lord, now lettest thy servant depart in peace. For mine eyes have seen.”

Blinded with tears, rolling with laughter, quiet with sleep, our eyes have seen. Right into the midst of our own holy family, God reaches down and reminds us all just how much he loves us.

These wonderful simple days, Lord, full of joy and praise, full of leaping and laughing, we are so thankful as this year ends and another beckons, that you are here.


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