For his fourth Christmas, my son Aaron wanted a set of building blocks and accessories with a pirate theme. Granted, the kit was too complicated for him to assemble. But once we put it together, it would give him pirates and sharks and parrots and trap doors to a prison to play with for hours. The picture on the box looked wonderful. It even looked wonderful all wrapped up under the tree.
It did not look nearly so wonderful when Aaron opened the package and we found ten pages of instructions and thousands of “easy-to-assemble” pieces. I instinctively understood this was now a “Dad” project. (Aaron did help out by playing with the little shark, making it eat the small pieces of muffin-shaped plastic I discarded.) Thankfully, my wife, Cheri, kept pouring me cups of coffee as I spent the rest of Christmas morning tied to the construction project.
Finally, as noon approached, the last of the palm fronds snapped into place. Instantly, the plastic pieces came alive in the hands of a four-year-old pirate. His “Thanks, Dad—I knew you could do it!” made it all worthwhile. My son believed implicitly in my ability and my willingness. All in all, it was a pretty good Christmas.
How do we celebrate God’s marvelous faithfulness toward us in creating a community of the people of God? One way we can do so is by studying carefully the story of how it all began.