Yesterday, you took a nasty spill in the living room. You were wearing socks and your feet slipped right out from under you. You fell face-first—nose-first, really—on to the hard floor. When you sat up, crying, Mom said that your nose looked like it had been flattened. She scooped you up and held you while you wailed and your tears soaked through the shoulder of her t-shirt. After comforting you for a bit, Mom put you up on the counter. She always sits you up there when you’re hurt because she can get a better look at you. She looked at your nose and your teeth to make sure that everything was okay, and then she put an ice pack on your nose to keep it from swelling too much. The ice pack was cold and didn’t feel good at first, but Mom knows how to take care of you when you’re hurt.
Have you ever wondered why Mom and I take care of you? Have you ever thought about why we comfort you when you’re hurt or sad, or why we do our best to make sure that you have good, healthy food to eat everyday?
I suppose there are two reasons, really.
First, we do our best to take good care of you because God entrusted you to us. When you were born, you couldn’t do much for yourself. You couldn’t crawl or walk, you couldn’t sing or talk. You were just a little lump of warmth that we had to hold and feed and clean. God told us to take good care of you so that you could grow up.
Second, we do our best to take care of you because we love you. We don’t love you because of anything you did or because you please us in some way. In fact, you’ve done several things over the last six years that didn’t please us! The love that we have for you has nothing to do with what you do; instead, it has to do with who you are. You’re Gus! That’s enough. That’s all you need to do to be loved: be Gus.
We love you and take care of you because you’re our child, but did you realize that you are also God’s child? Remember, I said that God entrusted you to us. That means that God gave you to Mom and me and said: “Here, this is one of my little kids. His name is Gus. Will you please make sure that he grows up strong and healthy, knowing that he’s loved?”
We told God, “Okay!”
God loves all of us. In fact, God is love. That’s kind of a strange idea, isn’t it? God is love. Let me give you a picture to think about and maybe it will help you understand. Whenever we snuggle together in the early morning hours, before Mom and Dad are really ready to get up, and we feel not only the warmth of the blankets, but also the warmth of our hearts, and we smile—that’s the Spirit of God right there in between us. God lives inside of us—remember, Jesus said that our bodies are temples or houses for the Holy Spirit—and when we show our love for other people, that’s God loving the whole world through us. Pretty great!
The most important thing in the whole world that you need to know is this: You are loved. That’s true for everybody, but not everybody really understands that they are loved or feels that they are loved. As your dad, I want to make sure that you know how loved you are. You’re a big six-year-old now, and it’s time you start really understanding this. So, each week I’m going to write a short letter to you—just like this one—to show you that God loves you and to help you think about what to do with all of that love. Your job will be to read these letters and bring more love into the world!
Does that sound good?
P.S. How’s your nose feeling?