A Celebration of Joy
A Celebration of Joy
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy.
This summer my three-year-old experienced the beach for the first time since he was an infant. When we arrived, I watched him intently, unsure how he would perceive the vast expanse of sky and water. Not one to be left out, he immediately followed his older sister and two cousins to the water’s edge, just in time for a massive incoming wave to unexpectedly topple him. White-faced and wide-eyed, he sprinted back up the beach to the adults and umbrellas, where he stubbornly remained for the rest of the day, safe and secure on his grandfather’s lap.
He began our second beach day in the same comfortable place. As he watched the older kids frolic in the sand, however, he eventually emerged from the umbrella’s shade and grasped my hand. Together, we approached the intimidating shoreline, and he let the waves lick his toes.
“The ocean is amazing!!!” he squealed, and though I could barely decipher his words over the waves’ din, his face exuded pure delight. By day’s end, he leapt and skipped with the others and no longer needed me to experience the joy of the ocean.
While reflecting on my son’s beach progression from lap to death-grip hand-holding to untethered enjoyment, I noticed a profound parallel to our roles as parents and guardians: When our children are young, we hold them closely and tightly because the world is terrifying and dangerous for them to experience on their own. Then, as they grow, we hold their hands and walk through life with them – teaching, training, correcting, guiding, and comforting as we go. In time, they are hopefully and prayerfully ready to be on their own, fully experiencing the joy of the Lord and discovering their own unique place in His family and eternal story.
Child Dedication Celebration beautifully encompasses this entire picture. Whether we are grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, or parents, we come together to thank God for the miraculous gift of a child, while remembering the end goal and acknowledging that we are but stewards. Truly, Child Dedication is a celebration of joy – past, present, and future. We praise the Giver for what He has given, relish in and invite others into the present responsibility of parenting, and intentionally entrust our children to God, that they may know Him and the joy of His salvation on their own.
May their hearts – and ours – cry out eternally, “The Living God is amazing!!!”
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