“For the Lord takes delight in his people”
Psalm 149:4 (NIV)
A loud, sharp knock rudely interrupted the child’s pleasant sleep. It was early . . . very early. A man’s voice, eerily familiar, echoed in the child’s dream as if it was coming from beyond, “Son, wake up! It’s time to go.” The boy was barely able to wrench his eyes open as he realized the voice he heard was as real as his desire to return to his precious slumber. He sat up and lightly slapped his face into consciousness. His father stood in the doorway wearing brown leather sandals with white tube socks, jean shorts, a bright orange polo (tucked in, of course), and a jovial grin. “Hurry, get dressed and meet me downstairs in 10 minutes. We have a long day ahead of us, son. So much to do and so little time!” As his father turned and hopped down the stairs, the boy, utterly confused, began to get dressed as his father requested. I wonder what’s going on.
Soon enough, they were on the road, just the two of them. The moon was still setting as the curious light of the sun was just beginning to peek its eyes over the covers of the dark earth. The boy begged his father to tell him where they were going, but the man just laughed with the excitement of a great gift-giver, eager to surprise the one he loves. The boy, although curious and impatient, couldn’t help but catch the bug of excitement from the joy overflowing from his father. They both looked ahead to the horizon with a deep feeling of anticipation.
After what seemed like many hours to the boy, he finally began to see a familiar structure materialize out of the vague distance as they drew closer and closer. The boy’s breath caught in his throat. A flood of joy and understanding dawned on him. He looked at his father, who had a smile of deep satisfaction spreading across his face. The boy could feel his eyes start to burn from the joy pouring out of his heart. He looked again at where they were headed, and then again at his father, then he felt such a pure and true wave of love for the man he had always looked up to, in the good times and the bad.
“I can’t believe we are finally doing this”, said the boy.
“I know what this means to you, son. And I couldn’t wait to bring you to this place you’ve desired for so long. Now it’s finally time.”
The boy looked into his loving father’s eyes, so full of passion and love for his son. Suddenly, something occurred to the boy.
“Dad, why today? It isn’t my birthday, or a holiday of any kind. I don’t understand. I haven’t done anything to warrant such a gift from you. In fact, I may have done some things that should disqualify me from receiving this wonderful surprise! What’s the catch?”
His father looked at him right in the eyes, and with a slight smile, said “Son, someday you will understand that a good father should never have to have a reason to delight in his son, other than the fact that he is his beloved child. I love you, my boy.”