Letter to a newly minted five-year-old

What came into being
    through the Word – Jesus – was life,
    and the life was the light for all people.
 The light shines in the darkness,
    and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light. – John 1:3-5

Note: June 18 Rebekah and I drove to Richmond to celebrate our granddaughter Rebekah’s fifth birthday. The day included a few hours in the Botanical Gardens. Consequently, I’m going to have to split the day into probably four posts: The birthday, The People, The Butterfly House, The Gardens. I’ll begin with the birthday.

A few words to my Beks. #TheGrandaddyLetters

1-DSC_0121Dear Beks – Everyone agrees, number five is a big one. Pre-school is done; Kindergarten awaits; you are officially a whole handful. Five!

You are, my sweet granddaughter, as beautiful as you possibly could be. I say that cautiously, aware that absolutely every five-year-old is an impossible-to-quantify work of exquisite art and unique creation. But I wasn’t joking when I told your mother, “Should I call Vogue or should you?” Because there is something special, something luminous, something extra of God’s light in you and you can’t help yourself, you just shine.

I think it’s the light and the joy that arrests me. “Arrests” – by the way – is a word that means more than going to jail, it means that someone is held captive, attention focused, stopped in their tracks, drawn in. You are beautiful, yes, but it is the light that arrests me.

So I want you to understand where that light comes from and what you are supposed to do with it and where it should go. Light comes from God. Jesus is described as “light and life.” Our job, then, is always to allow Jesus to fill us up with God’s light… and then always to share that light with our family, with our friends, and with everyone we meet – even the difficult ones. Especially the difficult ones.

1-DSC_0288A light like yours, Beks, is something God gives to people he knows the world needs. People like your grandmamma Rebekah, people like your mama, people like you; people God intends to shine.

I know you’re only five, but you need to know from the depths of who you are that you are in this world for a reason, that all the beauty and light and joy that flood into your life are there because God trusts you to share the Jesus kind of love with this world.

Beks, I am so very glad to be your grandaddy. You make a fabulous five-year-old! I can’t wait to see what you do with all that light!

In love and because of love – Grandaddy Derek




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