“Can we paint, today?” she asks with those big, blue eyes looking up at me.
I look at the older kids with their strewn books and pencils, and Ainsley whizzes by me with the babydoll stroller.
I don’t want to paint, today. Or tomorrow. Or ever, really.
But we paint anyway.
Her baby hand doesn’t quite fill mine, but her smile is as wide as her face. I smile, too, and we mirror one another for just a moment.
I use the largest paint brush in the jar and the last bit of green paint and she laughs as I brush it over her palm.
We make 6 handprints on the white paper and One hand pricks my heart.
I clean up and wash her hands and make 2 more trees with other little hands. The water runs green as I clean the brush and I try really hard to see the sacred in this moment of washing. I give thanks for what I can see and I trust Him for what I can’t:
…small hands on paper and a tree for the wall
…sharpened pencils and little boys who prefer to squatting to sitting
…dolls in strollers and duct tape purses
I make afternoon coffee when the kids go out to play and I’m alone, for just a while. I do my best thinking after noon and these kids, well, they make me do a lot of deep thinking. My clipboard, full of bible study notes, rests on the desk alongside a book I’ve set aside for later this month, a whole passage earmarked for Advent.
It’s about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and she’s not set to enter this love story for another couple of weeks.
I don’t intend to throw your entire Advent devotional calendar off kilter, but maybe you are here, too. Maybe you, too, are trusting God for the things unseen. And maybe, just maybe, your yes, to painting or reading, or cleaning, will be totally worth it.
Like everyone else, I think of Mary at Christmas. But my images of her aren’t always of her trembling before the angel on her bedroom floor. Or in a stable, backlit with candles while pressing her beautiful baby to her breast.
I picture her, instead, standing alone at night, in the middle of a construction site. Almost alone, that is.
I watch her pick up a small stick in the street, step over the warning cones and caution tape and kneel down a the foundation of what will one day be a beautiful chapel. She knows she will never see its walls or its stained glass. She will never sit in its pews or kneel at its altar. She won’t ever experience firsthand the tears of worship and the joy the world will offer the baby inside her. Somehow she knows this. But for a moment in history, she kneels at the foundation of it all, with the hope of the world sitting on her bony shoulders, the question and crisis of all mankind begging for an answer.
I watch her find a fresh square of wet cement and then freeze for just a moment, hovering over it. For more than eight seconds. she closes her eyes and breathes in the night air. Then, with a fresh and trembling courage and the small stroke of a twig, I watch her scrawl the word yes.
The yes that will be etched into the foundation of the world for all time.
The yes the angels breathlessly awaited.
The kind of yes that is deaf to opinion or gossip or petty concern about reputation.
A yes that is immune to self.
A yes that isn’t even concerned with the details of the question…because God is the asker.
She turns and wraps her shawl around herself against the wind. It’s blue. And she continues into the dark alone. Almost alone, that is. And then I hear her whisper.
Totally worth it.
Totally, totally worth it.
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May if be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her. (Luke 1:38)
Entire excerpt taken from Love Story, written by Nichole Nordeman
I frame my handprint Christmas tree and I whisper my own yes…
I pray you do, too.