We can't afford to do it every Saturday morning, but sometimes we can't afford not to.
Instead of Number 2 making eggs in a basket or pouring up the usual bowl of cereal, we got the boys up this past Saturday morning, and took them out for bagels. We've got it down to a science. We get a baker's dozen with three tubs of cream cheese (two strawberries and a garlic and chive) and a bagel and lox sandwich for mom and dad to share. Coffees for the grown ups and waters for the boys, and breakfast is relatively affordable. But, what we find ultimately most worth our investment, is the time spent out as a family at the start of the weekend.
There's something about changing up the environment that brings an alertness to each of us in the family. Perhaps it's being out in public with six boys on a Saturday morning, while folks with their coffees look on as we take up the longest table in the shop and orchestrate the choreography of eating out with young children. Regardless, Saturday bagels gets us engaged with one another, not comfortable in our usual spots at home. It is often a time that each can reflect on what went wrong during the past week and what we hope to grow in in the next. Though it's a bit frenetic, slathering cream cheese on five cinnamon sugar bagels all at once, we manage to look the kids in the eyes, and say a few important things...
Sometimes the important thing to say is simply, "Let's work on being more gracious with each other."
Sometimes, it's, "Chew with your mouth closed." or "Keep you hands to yourself."
But sometimes, when the man cubs are seated like gentlemen and no water has spilled within the first five minutes of breakfast, we talk about really important things:
We do not read anywhere that God delights in the cloud-capped mountains, or the sparkling stars, but we do read that he delights in the habitable parts of the earth, and that his delights are with the sons of men. We do not find it written that even angels give his soul delight; nor does he say, concerning cherubim and seraphim, "Thou shalt be called Hephzibah, for the Lord delights in thee"; but he does say all that to poor fallen creatures like ourselves, debased and depraved by sin, but saved, exalted, and glorified by his grace. In what strong language he expresses his delight in his people! Who could have conceived of the eternal One as bursting forth into a song? Yet it is written, "He will rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing." As he looked upon the world he had made, he said, "It is very good"; but when he beheld those who are the purchase of Jesus' blood, his own chosen ones, it seemed as if the great heart of the Infinite could restrain itself no longer, but overflowed in divine exclamations of joy. Should not we utter our grateful response to such a marvelous declaration of his love, and sing, "I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation?"
-Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Mornings and Evenings (emphasis, mine)
And here's the thing that I desperately want my kids to understand: There is no reason our family cannot rejoice in all seasons. There is nothing for which we cannot declare gratitude, joy, and praise. We can rejoice simply because we are the workmanship of a delighted creator--a savior who rescued us and rejoices over us. That is enough.
But telling them so doesn't make them trust it, love it, or own it. It must be enough for me, for them to see it as truth to behold, truth to believe, truth to become enraptured by.
And, so, as I rearrange the capers on my bagel and lox, I pause to voice--not an expectation--but a confession to these precious ones...these ones who seem to only understand rejoicing as a trophy of the triumphant rather than a badge of the broken:
"Boys, the Father rejoices over us that we might rejoice in Him."
They nod sweetly, completely content to rejoice in strawberry cream cheese, but their dad and I know...that this reminder is not just for them; it is for us.
Parents who don't rejoice have a difficult time demonstrating how the Father rejoices in His children. So I begin my week not focusing on simply instructing this important truth to the boys, but to soak in it myself. He delights in me. He rejoices over me.
Friend, what would it be for our children to behold parents who rejoice in brokenness? How impacting would such an important truth be were we to preach it to our own hearts first and proclaim that we are His beloved in the way we rejoice in all seasons? May it be spoken loud and clear through our lives today...
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