I wasn't quite ready to put away the Thanksgiving wreath, the pumpkin on the front porch. I love autumn--that season that ushers in the colors of amber, ochre and crimson. Pumpkins dot the landscape with their unmistakable orange brilliance. The sun is warm but not hot. Skies are often impossibly blue. "Just one more day," I said. "Then I'll get out the white Christmas lights." And besides, the family would be coming over for a bonfire. The grandchildren would try s'mores for the first time.
The fire blazed in the fire pit, and the moon glowed bright as if we'd pulled a string on an overhead light. Stars gleamed in a sky the color of midnight. I could hear the hum of my family all around me, my grown daughters with their young, talented husbands. My grandchildren. I thought, "This is abundance. Thank you, God, for the beauty of the moment, for giving me so much, for your goodness. For your kindness. Your tenderness toward me. Your warmth.
My grandson didn't really like the s'mores and opted for a plate of shelled pistachios. I sat near him, listening. One of my greatest gifts is that Jonathan enjoys coming to my house, that he feels comfortable talking to me. Jonathan spoke of the stars, smiled and waved at the moon. Flames from the fire lit his face. A toy airplane that I'd given him that night was tucked next to him. "Minou, (my grandmotherly title) I like this toy. Can I take it home?" When I nodded yes, he asked again, "I can?" He expressed some incredulity that I'd said yes. He then put down his plate of nuts and clutched the airplane to his chest. "Thank you, Minou. I get to take this toy home!"
As I pondered being with my grandson, I wondered if perhaps our interaction reflected something God might be hungering for. I do believe He delights in our company and listens intently. He draws near. He gives good gifts and assures us that receiving His gifts bring Him pleasure. He wants us to receive, clutch those gifts to our chests and declare our thanks. I think of my human love, my great affinity for my grandson--so weak and diluted compared with God's affection. I didn't want my time with that little boy to end. I could have sat there with him in the firelight for hours.
Many times, though, I fail to draw near to the One who extends His hand to me. I might allow my own inadequacies or shame or anxiety or busyness to keep me away. If my grandson didn't want to draw near to me, I'd feel saddened. I'd want him to come as he is; I'd want to give him gifts. I'd want to listen.
And what about you, kind reader? Is there anything that holds you back from drawing near? From receiving?
We overflow with thanks, for your name is the "Near One."~Psalm 75:1 (The Passion Translation)