“. . . and a little child will lead them.” Isaiah 11:6c
When my eldest son, Jason, was just four years old, I was on the patio going over some materials for a teacher training prior to the Advent season. It just so happened I was looking over the 4-year old class materials on the theme “Emmanuel: God With Us.” Then Jason walked onto the patio. The conversation went like this:
Jason: “Whatcha’ doing, Dad?”
Dad: “I’m working on some ideas your church school class, Buddy.”
Jason: “Can I help?” (I remember thinking, “This is great! I’ll ask 4-year old what 4-year olds think about when asked about God!”)
Dad: “Well, Jason, there is this word ‘Emanuel,’ that means ‘God is with us.’ Do you think God is with us?”
Jason: “Yep. Ask me another one!”
Dad: “Wait, how is God with us?”
Jason: Pointing up to the heavens, “There’s a door. He just opens it up, floats down and then floats back up!”
Dad: “But how do you know God is up there? How do you know God is not down under the ground?”
To this question Jason looked a bit exasperated and shaking his head responded, “Dad, carrots grow under the ground!”
At this point he walked off as if he has made his final point and he was satisfied.
I was impressed. Not by his theology or his imagination, but by his conviction. For a moment I wondered, “How did this kid get so confident that God was with him, no matter what the image he used to explain it?” Then I realized that this Emmanuel God was alive and real for his grandma and grandpa who lived next store, and they shared that with him. This God of love was real for his mom and dad, and we shared that love with him. Every Sunday, he was surrounded by children, youth, teachers, friends and family who prayed to, sang about, and told wonderful stories of a good and loving God. This is the reality he grew up in. These were the people who made the love of God incarnate to him. He saw, and believed. Oh, that my eyes could daily see with the clarity of the child.
Prayer: God with us, thank you for coming to us in the promise and hope of a child. Amen.
Rev. John Farley
South District Superintendent
Dean of Cabinet