With the recent passing of my wife’s Dad, I have had some time to consider the role that Grandfather’s play in the lives of their kid’s children. I’ve come to the realization that although Piper’s family has demonstrated some personal difficulties in coming to terms with the attack on her health as of late, that they were always wonderful to our kids.
That thought got me to look at things just a little bit differently. Lately I have begun to look at the situation through the eyes of a child and their relationship to their Grandpa… and in particular, my relationship with my maternal Grandfather.
I never had the honor of knowing my paternal Grandfather as he passed away before I was born succumbing to the negative effects of a lifelong habit of Italian Toscano Cigars. My Mom’s Dad though, was a powerful influence in my life. As I considered this, I realized that his passing was the most difficult death that I have had to face so far in my life.
My Mother once commented that I was most like my Grandfather. He could do no wrong in my life. He’s one of main reasons I have a love for gardening and yard care. He’s the one that taught me by example to make sure that my wife’s needs were always met before attending to the needs of others when out in public, at family gatherings and at home. His visible affection to my Grandmother was a sterling example that I have always sought to imitate. I have a clear picture in my mind’s eye of them holding hands as they walked together coming up my parent’s long driveway. He is also the reason I wear my watch upside down. I do it because he did, I later came to find out that he wore it that way as he was a dress maker and co-owner of a garment factory in New York and wore it as such so he could check the time while cutting out patterns!
As I look at our children today, I can’t help but be proud of the way that they responded to their Grandpa “Sir’s” declining health. The multiple phone calls from the out of state kids, regular visits and assistance from our son and his family in California and the unscheduled flights from Oklahoma to California by our youngest son. I can only hope that even though we do not live near our Grandkids that I can have the same lasting effects that my Grandpa had on me and Piper’s Father had on our children.
Today’s Friday, the third week of Advent reading talks about how our lives can and should have a positive effect on the children in our own families as well as the children and youth that we might influence in our neighborhoods, our churches, the stores we shop in and those we walk past in our regular daily activities. Think about what influence you play or could play in the lives of the young people who you interact with as you meditate on today’s blog post.
Friday, the third week of Advent
Today’s Readings: Proverbs 22:6 / Luke 2:39-40
As we near the conclusion of the story of the first Christmas, our portion of scripture in Luke infuses with Matthew’s details concerning Joseph, Mary and Jesus’ escape to Egypt and their eventual return to Israel. The author makes a point to declare that “they returned into Galilee, to their own city Nazareth.” (Luke 2:39 KJV) It must have been very important to God that Jesus be raised in the familiarity of His earthly parent’s home town. To have the comfort and security of living amongst family and friends who knew and cared for them.
From the scarce amount of information that the canonical scriptures give us, we can come to the conclusion that Jesus lived an ordinary childhood and experienced the same pleasures, trials and challenges that all children do as they grow up. But verse 40 establishes some very important details about His childhood and the way He was raised.
I believe that this small section of our story is to be read as a tribute to Joseph and Mary! The NKJV says that “the Child grew and became strong in spirit, filled with wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.” The God’s Word © translation ends the verse by stating that “He gained favor from God and people.” These statements make it clear that Jesus’ earthly parents taught Him by precept and (probably more importantly) by example the things of God. They did whatever it took to establish Mary’s first born son in the understanding, trust and love of His Father God. And this was not accomplished at the expense of a natural education. While Jesus was a well-rounded individual in His secular and spiritual education, what preeminently came forth in His adult life and ministry was the firm foundation of the Word that was put into Him, primarily by the effort of His parents.
I think that this is one of the greatest lessons that parents, grandparents and all relatives alike should learn to follow in this life! We have a responsibility to the children and youth around us to be the best example of God’s love and holy living that we can be. I must confess that this was one of the primary reasons that I gave up having an occasional glass of wine or a beer many years ago. As I prayed and agonized over this, I came one day to the realization of the poor example that I was setting for my own children as well as for the ones that I ministered to in our church and as a soccer coach!
Many times the church will tend to attach Jesus’ unquestioning trust in God to His being the Son of God. But Jesus lived a normal life as the Son of Man until the Holy Spirit came upon Him following His baptism by John the Baptist. At that point I don’t believe that He was suddenly endued with all spiritual wisdom and understanding, but came to a much greater understanding of all the teaching that His earthy parents had bestowed upon Him as He grew up under their love and care. And you know what? It is never too late to start, especially if this wasn’t the pattern you demonstrated when your kids were at home! I have developed a stronger relationship now with my adult children than when they were younger. Now it is increasingly more exciting and rewarding to share the Word and our experiences with our faith to each other as never before!