Thursday, December 26, 2019

Shy of Heaven

Giggles and laughter floated through the house. They were the giggles and laughter of innocence, of children playing, or doing something they found exceedingly entertaining.

My wife was in the kitchen teaching them how to knead cookie dough, and I was in the living room catching up on some messages and correspondence.

The laughter broke only long enough for my eldest daughter to say, “eww, yucky,” quickly followed by her little sister parroting the phrase. Then the laughter resumed, and I just closed my eyes and listened to it with a smile on my face.

Maybe it’s the time of year, but that laughter sounded like angels singing. I knew it wasn’t heaven yet, but that moment, that blissful innocence of finding uttermost joy in something as common as kneading cookie dough was likely as close as I’m going to get while on this earth.

Such moments are necessary for life. Not only do they serve to foreshadow what awaits us, but they give us the strength to press on toward the prize, even when life gets messy, and the road gets hard.

I do not know what the future holds, at least not with specificity regarding myself as an individual, but I know I can close my eyes and relive that laughter whenever I grow weary.

Yes, Jesus said that in this world we would have tribulation, but He never said we wouldn’t also have joy. Just because you have one thing, it does not mean you cannot also have the other. Hold precious times of joy. Hold precious times of merriment. Hold precious the times of laughter and glee and your kids kneading cookie dough while still in their pajamas. Understand that those moments are often fleeting, short bursts of memories that will keep you warm during the cold dark nights of hardship.

At the risk of sounding cheesy and cliché, all we have is this moment, and what we choose to do with it. Will I spend this moment embracing joy, or trying to stifle someone else’s? Will I spend this moment being thankful for the gift of Jesus, whatever day he happened to be born on, or will I, fueled by caffeine and self-importance, do my utmost to sow a little bitterness in the lives of others just because I feel like it.

Yes, theological debates and discussions are good and necessary, they have their place, and are encouraged, but zeal without wisdom will more often than not have a negative effect, and achieve the opposite of what you were trying to accomplish.

If for everything there is a season, then perhaps this moment might more readily lend itself to faith, family, joy, and thankfulness than bitter outbursts about how anyone who says Merry Christmas is an agent of Satan, hell-bound and irredeemable.

Oh, and just so we’re clear, a belated Merry Christmas to all. 

With love in Christ,
Michael Boldea Jr.

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