We stand in a circle, a jumble of humans clutching one another. It’s New Year’s Eve and we are ushering in the New Year with a collective prayer – that we would love Him more, grown in faith and obedience, and that all these little ones, fourteen between our two families, would come to know His saving grace.
I stand and hold, perhaps it’s more like catch, the sweaty palm of one overtired two year old in my right hand, and grab, unseen, the outstretched hand to my left. It is wide and strong, and my smaller hand settles into it comfortably. I know this hand – it has been my steady companion all these years. We have grown together, as we settled into family life. It has been found many times in this same place, during joyful times and disappointing times, as means of encouragement and rebuke.
I wish I could say that I have always treated the hand’s owner with tenderness and affection. But I have not. I wish I could say I have prayed for him as much as I should. But I haven not. I wish I could say I have always put his needs above my own. But I have not. Most definitely not.
As I stand, head bowed, in these last few hours of a waning year, I am saturated with thankfulness to the One who knit together this hand and mine, the One who called us both into His family, the One who, in His sovereignty, gave us to one another. He is the Giver of all good gifts, and I am in awe that these hands were made in His perfect image. For, despite my inadequacies, He continues to grow us, nurture us, breathe life and joy and peace into us. He satiates us with His living waters, and we grow to be more like Him.
And as I add my contemplative "amen" to the cacophony, I give that man-hand an extra squeeze, some extra love shared through fingertips. And Nicholas squeezes back. And we smile. My boy.