Grandpa’s Here!


I knocked on the door.

I was not feeling particularly bright today. I didn’t sleep well and would have preferred to stay in bed. But I had a long to-do list, so I went through the motions in the shower and put on clothes for the drive across town.

I saw the blinds at the window move – then I heard a dog bark.

What happened next was simply amazing.

The door swung open and I heard a chorus of “Grandpa’s here! Grandpa’s here!” from two of the three grandchildren. The third was calling out “Gaampa” in the way that only she does. As I stepped through the doorway, I had a child hanging on each leg and the youngest one reaching to me from her mommy’s arms.

My mood was immediately lifted. I don’t know how to explain it, but the gray that had overshadowed me just moments before was washed away and I noticed a bounce in my step.

***

I was reminded of Matthew 19:14. “But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”

***

I took a seat at the kitchen table. With my two-year-old granddaughter cuddled on my lap, the older children grabbed Operation from the desktop and opened the box. As we put all of the items into the right places of the game, I could not help but chuckle. I turned and smiled when my daughter-in-law placed a cup of coffee in front of me, but out of reach of the two-year-old.

This was such a special time for me: this one-on-three time with the grandkids. My babysitting was nothing less than a labor of love. Any excuse for me to watch the little ones was welcome.

Just a month ago, we had moved to a town near our son and his family. This became more of a blessing than I could have ever imagined. I thought back to our occasional visits with them over the past few years, our days playing with play-dough, paints, matchbox cars and legos. But nothing compared to being able to drop by at a moment’s notice and hug them.

My reverie was broken when I heard the sharp noise of the buzzer from the game. “My turn,” I exclaimed. Taking the tweezers, I was unsuccessful at removing a body part from the small space in the game board. The buzzer beeped and the light flashed to my grandson’s delight. Taking the tweezers from me, he could not hold back his enthusiasm as he removed the part I had been unable to extract.

Giggles from grandkids have a healing effect all their own.

I wondered if Jesus experienced the same thrill when children climbed up on his lap. Did he smile when he tried to take a step and noticed them hanging from him like little monkeys in a tree? Did he buck them off his leg like we grandpas are expected to do?

When Jesus was tired, did children re-energize him?

No doubt that the children enjoyed being near Jesus, surely he was blessed by the nearness and openness of children’s spirits – much like I feel when my grandchildren cannot wait until I get through the doorway at their house. There is nothing like being loved…and wanted…without reservation, with the devotion that comes only from the hearts of children.

***

My hope is that my grandchildren always have the desire to run to me and jump into my arms. I can only imagine that Jesus feels the same way.

It’s no wonder that children will make up the Kingdom of Heaven.

Will there be board games there? It does seem fitting – at least to this old grandpa.

One thing is for sure, Jesus will be able to win at Operation.