May 18, 2013

We should celebrate grandparenting! We all know grandparents these days who are substantially involved in the lives of their grandchildren, often for the sake of both joy and help. There’s actually no joy quite like it, as you no longer sit in the driver’s seat but in the back. The back is a delightful place, where you’re not maneuvering through traffic; you’re taking in the faces around you, in light of the landscape you notice as it passes by.

It’s a pretty magnificent vantage point—getting to see close-up our God at work generation after generation, just like he promised. It’s a huge opportunity—having a chance to speak words of grace and truth into little lives opening in front of you like some time-lapse YouTube clip of flowers blooming. It’s the most consuming kind of fun—as you stop and read a story, and everything else in the world just disappears for a few minutes. Not too many things in this world can make that happen.

It’s not an exclusive activity, of course. We all know, as well, many women and men who take on the role of grandparenting (or aunt-ing or uncle-ing!) for children around them who don’t have such family in their lives. Ideally, in the church, there’s a constant flow of grandparent-like help and encouragement from older to younger generations: this is our final family, and we’re all responsible for its growth. Riding right along in the car (in all kinds of ways) with parents and their children offers immeasurable aid to parents, who feel the weight of raising their children to know and love and serve Jesus, in a world that’s pulling in all sorts of other directions. The world around us would justify the death of children; the body of Christ is called to celebrate and nurture new life, ultimately new life in Christ who died for us and who lives in us.

So . . . just a hurrah today from a grandmother who loves grandmothering. May God enable all of us to be a blessing to the next generations! I wish I could knit or sew like many amazing people I know, but I can’t; my gifts to my grandchildren come more in the form of food or walks or stories or poems. Here’s a blessing “knitted” for my second granddaughter:

Kathleen Nielson


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