Birthday Words for Geoffrey! Our gift… our responsibility

– the Miami grandchildren

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”

Numbers 6:24-26
– Geoffrey

So this bundle of absurdly potent cuteness is one year old today. Geoffrey is exactly one-tenth the age of his brother David and catching up fast. In another nine years David will be a college freshman and Geoffrey will already be more than halfway there.

But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves. The “now” is three beautiful children and the youngest just soaking in the good life. And by “the good life” I mean being surrounded by a family that loves him and who give him every ounce of recommended stimulation and encouragement and support and direction – plus a whole lot more.

And that, in a nutshell, is the oyster he has landed in and the pearl of opportunity his little life represents. Not power, not riches, not the best neighborhood, not people in high places, not guaranteed access – but love: honest, messy, unconditional, blessed, disorganized, untidy, family love; the best and only privilege all children should be born into.

Hope – a gift for us all:

And Geoffrey, who smiles such big grins when he hears his grandaddy’s voice on FaceTime, you are an amazing and necessary gift to this broken world, because you have exactly what is needed – right now, and needed even more tomorrow. You have genuine smiles, you have unspoiled authenticity, you have a healthy understanding of what love is, you have no concept of prejudice or exclusion… and – this is huge – you value people more than things and your heart is wide open to learn.

This is the definition of hope, and you are the definition of promise.

Hope, the scriptures teach us, is having confidence in the future based on our experience of and our faith in God’s faithful love and promises. Well you, Geoffrey, are already an amazing gift from God, and you are part of God’s promise for the future.

When we see you, we see possibility and love and light and grace and promise all wrapped up into one beautiful boy.

Our responsibility:

At the same time, we see the responsibility we have, as parents and grandparents, to nurture such promise in the context of a family that never lets up, never gives up, never falls apart, never moves away from the promises we made in your baptism.

When we see you, then, we also see the potential for love and light and grace and promise in ourselves; we are reminded of what is possible; we are both reassured and encouraged in our own need for accountability and mercy and grace, and redemption.

So, happy happy birthday, Geoffrey:

“The Lord bless you
    and keep you;
 the Lord make his face shine on you
    and be gracious to you;
 the Lord turn his face toward you
    and give you peace.”

– Your grandaddy DEREK

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