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Tending Your Soul: Sacred Encounters

Todd/God

I celebrate the fact that I’m a great-aunt – and hopefully a great aunt! During a recent holiday celebration, though, I got royally replaced! My niece from California decided to visit home unannounced and surprise her parents for Christmas. Several of the rest of us managed to keep the secret and gathered for dinner on Christmas Eve. At the appointed time, Rhonda literally sprung out of a huge gift-wrapped box and into her mother’s arms. You can imagine the animated conversation that followed.

Sometime before we sat down to eat we were all introduced to Todd, who had picked Rhonda up from the airport. Following supper, the gift-exchange consisted mainly of numerous small presents for Noah – the resident 4-year-old. Match box cars and a colorful case with perfectly-sized spaced for his collection of cars elicited loud exclamations of delight. Once the presents were opened, Noah lost interest quickly in the adult exchange. Generally during family gatherings we alternate attending to Noah – sometimes vying for our own turn with this delightful young man. This particular evening, however, much to everyone’s delight and appreciation, Todd folded his lanky frame onto the floor space beside Noah and proceeded to engage him in creative play with his new cars and “garage.” Two heads bent over an arrangement of cars in earnest conversation about the need for care and respect for these cars that didn’t appreciate any rough treatment! Solemnly, Noah seemed to accept this wisdom from Todd, and more carefully than usual, zoom and weave various cars around imaginary roads and bridges.

Eventually, coats were retrieved from the closet and departures began. Several of us were gathered right outside the front door when Noah’s voice rang out, “Thanks, God, for playing with me!” Hearts melted and tears formed as his “mistake” registered. What a Christmas gift for each of us present!

God, what a deeply touching moment that was! The very evening we were headed to church to celebrate your surprise visit to an unsuspecting world, a young man reminded us of your presence in our midst. We were stunned at the simplicity of an expectation that you would care enough to come down to our level and “play with us.”

Refection/Discussion:
What image, feeling, question or memory of yours surfaces as you read this story?

Is there a song, family tradition or religious celebration that has touched your heart? Given you a sense of God’s love or presence?