My niece is 2 1/2 years old, and she is one of my favorite people on the planet. Already too smart for her own good, she can talk circles around kids her age– and most adults, for that matter. And she’s hilarious. And sometimes, she’s much more theologically sound than even the most well trained theologians I know.
Take Friday night as an example. I picked her up for a Squeaker and B Date Night. That’s pretty much an evening in which I let the 2 year old decide what we’re doing. And she has pretty good taste for a toddler. This past Friday, she picked Cracker Barrel for supper (“I want pancakes, and B, you want eggs and grits and bacon. And you want to share them with me.” Natural negotiator), and the Silverdale football game so she could do her “Rock, Chalk, Seahawk” cheer that she’s been practicing for a year.
By halftime she had worn herself out and was literally spinning in circles while talking to herself, trying to prevent early onset bedtime. As the band finished the halftime show, she crawled in my lap and said, “I have a secret to tell you.” She leaned close to my ear and said, “I think it’s bedtime, ok?” Sure, kid, that’s ok. She didn’t make it through “The Circle of Life” in the car before she was out cold.
For all of her spontaneity and hilarity, though, she also loves her routines, and not even sleep was going to get in the way of her favorite daily event– bedtime prayer. I got her out of the car, up two flights of stairs, out of her play clothes and into her pajamas without even jarring her pattern of breathing, but when her head hit the pillow and I turned to walk out of the room, she sat up and said, “Wait! I have to pray.” Already more dedicated to conversation with God than I am. Pretty sure sleep has kept me away from the throne of grace more than once.
So I turned around, kneeled by the bed and asked, “Ok, what do you want to thank Jesus for today?” I love stories of little kid prayers. Prayer time lets you into their head, to see what they’re thinking, to get a gauge on their perspective on life. I was hoping she’d thank Jesus for her totally awesome Aunt B that let her do all the fun stuff she wanted to do, or her friend Gracie that let her hang out with the big kids at the football game. Or maybe she’d be thankful for pancakes. I couldn’t wait to hear what sweet and funny things she was thankful for.
So I was completely unprepared for the convicting depth of her response.
“Ok, what do you want to thank Jesus for today?”
Can’t argue with that, kid.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities–all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross. Colossians 1:15-20
All things. That about covers it.
So what are you thankful today? I’m thankful for the reminder that it’s all about Him, and that he used my niece to remind me of that beautiful truth.