“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”Matthew 5:14-16
Hmmmmmm. This is one I have to think about for a while. Sink in. Process. Ruminate. Chew over. Kick around.
David, our first and epoch-launching grandchild, turns 10 years old today. Ten. 10. X. One decade. Two hands full. Wow.
Back then, that amazingly fateful day in 2011, I crafted the first in the series of my official “Grandaddy Letters” (Welcome to Earth – the birth edition).
I said a lot, but the following paragraph stands out to me because the idea remains so critically important in a world that knows too little of encouragement and grace:
David – My prayer is that you will grow into the kind of boy who brings the light of God’s goodness and love into the lives that you touch. Your mama already has this gift. Learn from her, and learn from Jesus, who came into this world full with grace and truth, the very definition of light and life.Oct 16, 2011
Ten Years On – A New Letter from Grandaddy:
“Dear David. Today you are ten years old! First of all, I’m having a hard time with the math – because this means that now everyone else must be ten years older too. But what wonderful years they have been. I have watched you grow into a kind, intelligent, creative, loving, caring, energetic 4th-grade boy. You are everything I ever dreamed of in a grandson, and so much more.
Ten years ago today I prayed that, “You will grow into the kind of boy who brings the light of God’s goodness and love into the lives that you touch.” It was a good prayer, I just didn’t have the capacity then to imagine just how much light and goodness and love that would be!
Did you know, David, that just a little light will always defeat a whole boatload of darkness? It’s true. Your grandmama and I tried it one day in a pitch-dark cave the size of a football stadium. One match, just one strike of a tiny wooden match, and light made its way into every corner.
What I want you to understand, David, is where that kind of light comes from. The disciple John said that the real light is Jesus: “The true light that gives light to everyone…” (John 1:9). Then, in his Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said we get to be the light too – and that includes you, “You are the light of the world… let your light shine before others” (Matthew 6:13-16).
It’s like shining is your job, David. Being light, showing love, and showering the world with kindness.
Now you are the first grandchild of four! Beks loves you so much and she watches you every day. Geoffrey is paying attention too. Then Mr. T. – all the way over in Bahrain – hears stories and chats with you on the video, and he can see how beautiful it is when someone like you lives as if God has given them as a gift to the world.
And that is what you are, David, a gift. It’s how your baptism went too. Your mom and dad said, “thank you” to God and then they kind of gave you back at the same time. What I mean is that they told God they understood where all the light and love and goodness comes from, and then they promised God they would raise you to understand too, and to experience what it means to live as a Child of God.
There’s another Bible verse about that:
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! 1 John 3:1
It’s pretty amazing stuff, David, and a lot to think about when you are just ten years old.
But here’s the thing. You are being raised, in this beautiful and loving family, to make a difference in terms of goodness, and of love, and of light. That’s where we started this post. I guess it’s as good a place as any to end.
So celebrate you birthday, David, and know how much Grandmama and I love you. You give me hope for this world, and confidence in the future. May God continue to fill you up with love and light and kindness and promise, so much so that it spills out all over the place and gets all over your family and your friends.
In love, and because of love – your Grandaddy Derek!