My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.
When I was a kid. Most of our family vacations involved trips from South Dakota to California to see our relatives. Grandma Duncan was one of my favorites. She was great. She would take us to Thrifty’s for ice cream. She always got us discount tickets to go to Disneyland. I remember sitting at her counter as she would special-order cook my breakfast. At Little Grandma’s there was always a new toy, a special gift.
She was full of love and life and joy. We had long talks. It was always good to go to grandma’s house because it was always good to be with her. I didn’t understand until later how much of the blessing was wrapped up in her presence…not her presents.
But then she got Alzheimer’s…way to0 early. I was in college when she started getting bad. Grandpa refused to put her in a nursing home. He took care of her. But she kept getting worse, mentally and physically. So they moved on to my parent’s farm. For the next decade of her life, she lived there. But not really…no more long talks. She couldn’t talk. No more special order breakfast, she couldn’t even feed herself. No more special gifts, she was bed-bound.
It was always interesting to watch my kids when we would go to grandma’s house to visit. They never had the chance to really know her, but they always wanted to see her. They would go into her bedroom and touch her hand, say hello, and then go and play. When they left the room, I think it was almost as though she was no longer in the house. I would stay a little longer. We had more history. But after a few more moments I would leave also.
And the rest of the time, it was as though she was not there. Present but not known. In the house, but no longer a force of blessing. Her house, but nobody asked her to host. Her kitchen but nobody asked her to cook. Once the ritual greetings had taken place she wasn’t present…until it was time for the ritual goodbyes.
And the house was different. It was her house, but the blessing was gone. Do we ever get that way with God?
Once upon a time, we knew He was there…we consulted Him with our decisions and asked for His help often…sometimes we would just sit and talk and it was good to be in His house, because it was
good to be with Him. We would find our hands full of special gifts and cook-to-order blessings. But now we have our ritual hellos and our ritual goodbyes and the rest of the time?
Well it’s His house, but it would be easy to be there and never be aware of His presence.
QUESTIONS TO PONDER
For what does my heart yearn?
Would I trade one day with God for three years of my life?
God doesn’t have alzheimer’s. If there is distance between us, we’ve moved. What might it look like for me to prepare to be aware of His presence in His house?
Father, this Christmas season, I want more of the blessing of you. Please open my eyes to your presence in your house. Help me to acknowledge you in multiple moments throughout the day. Show me what keeps me from you and give me the courage to break down all the walls. I love you. Thank you for coming to be with us. Amen
Take a moment and pray for Calvary’s weekend worship, that together, we would experience His presence.