Posts Tagged ‘the light in a baby’s eyes’

I love waiting at the airport to welcome someone home. As I do, I often play that game of looking around and wondering which relative or friend those around me are there to meet. Is it a parent or grandparent—or a son or daughter? Perhaps that man is waiting for his wife or his girlfriend. Some look hopefully every few seconds at that exit door. Some have whole families and children with them who are restless with excitement. Others try to act nonchalant, yet little mannerisms given them away. ‘There she is!’ we hear at last—and soon relatives or friends are rushing towards the traveller, whose face has been transformed with joy at the sight of those she loves.

Maxine and Granddad

Maxine and Granddad

It’s a delight to watch such moments of unadulterated joy. I’ve seen them in other contexts too—but this past week, one beautiful such moment caught me by complete surprise. I was sitting holding our six week old granddaughter, Maxine, and talking softly to her. As I did, I noticed how her eyes were fixed on some spot beyond my head. I turned to speak to our daughter—and when I again looked down at Maxine, she was gazing straight at me, with the widest, most delightful smile ever on her cute, little face! No, it wasn’t merely a grimace from some wind that was troubling her. It was one of those fair dinkum, first real social smiles that are just so precious.

I could not take my eyes off her. Her smile transformed her whole face. I noticed too how her eyes were shining, as if lit by some deep, inner joy. It was as if she was saying in the only way she could, ‘Hello! I’m here—and I think I’d like to connect with you.’ It was as if her little spirit was reaching out for recognition and for some sort of special, warm welcome to this world. It was as if some innate sense of joy had suddenly bubbled up inside her. And, needless to say, this grandmother was besotted all over again.

But this experience also challenged me. Years ago, in a very busy period of my life, a good Christian friend told me he didn’t see much joy in me at that point. Yes, we do go through sad and difficult times in our lives when joy may understandably absent for a while—a long while even. But I had no real excuse. I was merely ‘worried and upset about many things’, as Martha was when Jesus was visiting (Luke 10:41). I had forgotten what it was to enjoy God deep down, to allow the Spirit to bring that peace and joy back to my own spirit. After that conversation, I pinned the question Paul asks the believers in Galatians 4:15 on the wall in front of my desk: What has happened to all your joy? Not that I wanted to pretend I was joyful when I was not. But it served as a reminder to rest in God and rejoice in his love. I wanted that inner joy to shine out again and reflect God’s heart to others—and I still do.

How about you?

Let the light of your face shine upon us, O Lord. You have filled my heart with greater joy than when their grain and new wine abound. Ps 4:6-7

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