Do you remember as a child when a distant aunt & uncle or grandparents would come to visit? Or maybe just a close family friend you didn’t get to see often would stay over? They either lived far away or life was just too busy to see them often.
I spent nine years living in Alaska as a child, so there was definitely a distance issue for us. But I loved the times my grandparents would visit. And they usually brought gifts! Good gifts!! I remember waiting and waiting for them, actually standing by the side of the road. My brother and I would dream of what kids of things they would bring us.
Then, after much anticipation, they would finally arrive! Lots of hugs, maybe a few tears of joy, several, “I can’t believe how tall you’ve gotten!” comments. Then we would ask, with a mix of eagerness and hesitation, “Did you bring us anything?” We were like kids on the ultimate Christmas morning!
My grandfather would snap us back to reality. “Hey! We just got here! Give me another hug! Besides, maybe we did bring you something, but it’s buried somewhere in the motorhome. So you’ll have to wait. Come, sit here beside me, tell me what you do during your days. You’ll have to show me all the places you go and introduce me to your friends. But for now, let me just hug you and hold you. Let me just enjoy you!”
Those were sweet times. I don’t even really remember any of the gifts. (Except for one Christmas when they bought me a much desired Mets baseball jacket!) I just loved being in their presence! Hearing grandpa’s funny stories and silly one-liners. Watching grandma lovingly care for us, making sure we had a shower that morning and every few minutes asking, “Can I get you anything? Can I make you a sandwich? Are you sure? Want a cookie?!”
They are both gone now. And it’s not the gifts and the things I remember most about them. It’s that they wanted to spend time with me. They wanted to know me. They wanted to enjoy me. And yes, they wanted to bless me.
It was fabulous to curl up in their laps as a child, to find refuge with their arms around me. To feel grandma’s naturally long nails running through my hair or scratching my back. I just loved to snuggle into them and spend time with them. I loved to just enjoy them.
Those memories bring a sweet smile to my face. Easy going times just resting in their presence. And as I reflect on those times, I wonder how often I just rest in my Heavenly Father’s presence. How often do I just sit with Him, letting Him know me rather than clinging for the good gifts He promises.
Jesus longs to bless us. He wants to give us good gifts. Sometimes He even lets us see a glimpse of what is to come. When He’s done that for me, I instantly feel like that wide-eyed child again. “For me? Really?! That’s what you want to give me?!”
Eager anticipation sets in! Because that is usually a glimpse, a foretaste of what is to come. Not yet. Not now. So I set about in my human ways. Ok! If that’s what Father God wants for me, I had better set to work to get to that spot. I should either live life fully until that point or be consumed and busy working to get it!
Then, the Holy Spirit gently whispers and reminds me of a few things. “Hey! Just sit with us awhile. Just enjoy us. Father God longs to bless, and you can wait with confident expectation that He will bless you. But in the waiting, just sit and enjoy His presence. Be reminded of who He is to you. Snuggle in the embrace. Enjoy His creation. Enjoy the gift giver—the one who gives good gifts—more than the gift itself.