It’s one of those chilly gray February mornings. I wake up and look outside and wonder why I was so anxious to take the tree down and get all those cheery lights and decorations into the boxes and back into the garage. During the wee hours of Sunday morning new snow has been added to the glacier spread out across the front yard of our home. We face the North Pole and for the first several months of every new year it looks like Narnia, “Where it is always winter and never Christmas.”
I’m a streak of dismal brown as I dash into the church and slide on to one end of a long empty bench: brown skirt, brown sweater, brown boots. I throw my coat down to save a spot for my daughter and her family.
Before the downbeat of the opening song, across the bench scoots my 2 year old granddaughter, Esther. Her daddy slips off her coat. Esther has no idea it’s the bleak midwinter. At her insistence Esther is wearing a butter-cream yellow dress with a pale pink sash, embroidered flowers at the hem, a pink gathered underskirt, and capped sleeves. Her bright blue eyes meet mine (brown, of course, to match my outfit). She shakes her little crown of yellow curls and whispers loudly in my direction, “Grandma, it’s a party dress!”
The next part of the meeting proceeds in a fairly conventional way. Esther sits on daddy’s lap while mommy takes fussy baby sister to the foyer. A library book comes out of the large “Sunday go to church and meet any emergency” bag. Mommy returns. Daddy takes fussy baby sister out. You’ve got the picture. The first speaker concludes. One of the young men checks the tuning on his cello, and the choir and cello perform “I Need Thee Every Hour.”
It was truly beautiful; however the loveliest thing to me was not what was happening in the choir loft in front of me, but what was happening in the little space beside me. At the sound of the music the little “party dress” girl lifts her baby soft ivory arms into the air and with her feet on the ground, in the tiny space between our bench and the next, she dances. Without a sound she sways and she twirls, and at the final “I come unto Thee,” she lowers her ballerina arms and says, not in a polite whisper and to no one inparticular, “That was beautiful!”
That was beautiful, Esther. I don’t suppose we can help growing older and ever so practical. I pull on either my black or my brown boots every Sunday from Thanksgiving to Easter and I don’t know when I last wore my party dress to church. I know I’ve never danced in the chapel and I’m not going to recommend it either. But Esther, on Sunday you reminded me of something wonderful. It was as if you were saying, “Grandma, the Sabbath is a celebration. Think of it as your “New-Birth-Day” party. And Grandma, you may be too old and too big to dance between the benches, but because of Jesus and what he has done and what He is doing in your life and your heart, your spirit can dance and dance and dance for joy from one end of the Sabbath to the other!
By Nannette W., Posted Tuesday, March 7, 2011
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