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There is a young man at our church who brings his three young children to the service regularly and faithfully. He has two daughters and a son and it always brings a smile to my face when they walk into the sanctuary. It is like those kids can't wait to get inside the door. The oldest daughter is about seven, her brother is five, or so, and the youngest is probably about three. They are a sweet family and I love to watch the way their Father loves them and is teaching them about God's love.
This little family has been coming to our church for about a year now. Every Sunday, when they are there, the children usually go to children's chapel during the bulk of the service. However, after the sermon and before we begin preparing for communion, our priest calls the kids back to the congregation. Every single time, the youngest daughter runs to her daddy and jumps into his waiting arms. She is so excited and thrilled to see him. As soon as she lays eyes on her father, she yells, "Daddy", and runs to meet him as fast as her little legs will carry her. I love this and, yes, it always makes me smile and usually makes me cry. Her expression of joy at the sight of her father fills her face and lights up her little eyes and her entire countenance. It is so sweet, so true and incredibly intimate. She acts as if she hasn't seen her father for years and, in reality, it has only been about 20 minutes or so. And, you can only imagine the joy on her Father's face as he hears his name and turns to see her running to him, then stoops down with open arms and waits to catch her and to gather her close with a hug and a kiss. I hope it is always like this for them.
I think this may be the way God must feel when we let go of all that holds us back and we run into His waiting arms. He must be so happy to catch us, to gather us to himself and to welcome us with a hug and a kiss. I love that image. I like to imagine the incredible grin on His face and to think about His arms holding me close. I like knowing He will never let go. It's the safest place I know - a place of comfort, a place of strength and a place of love.