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Art in Heaven

October 11, 2009

With Thanksgiving upon us, I felt that it was a perfect time to share this true story that has been used in many a Thanksgiving sermon by my father – whom many of my “faithful” (tee hee!) readers know as Pastor Prime of Sweetville, SK. Not only this weekend but every day, let us count our blessings for the small things and special moments that demonstrate God’s presence in our lives.

I wish you all health, happiness, a wonderful time with your family, and of course a delicious turkey dinner!

I was having “one of those days” – yardwork piling up, writer’s block, and a stretch of unseasonably cold weather had left me in what my wife Barbarella calls the self-pity pit. I wanted an hour or so to relax, so I was sitting in my den watching a football game while Barbie was making supper. It wasn’t an especially important game, but I was trying my hardest to forget my troubles and focus on the drama unfolding on the field. The team I was cheering for scored a touchdown, and I shouted in excitement – but just as my black mood was lifting, it was discovered that the referee had thrown a flag before my boys had scored. The touchdown wouldn’t be counted. Now I was more upset than ever!

Just then, my five-year-old son Daniel came into the room. Now, I consider myself to be a pretty liberal parent, but one thing all nine of my children know is that the den is Daddy’s space! “What are you doing in here?” I snapped at my son. His face fell. “I drew a picture and I wanted to show you,” he said, on the verge of tears. Immediately I regretted my harsh tone. “Well, let’s see,” I said, leaning over to inspect his work. More than any of my other children, Daniel has always been blessed with unusual creativity. Although very young, he had drawn a lovely picture, and I asked him to describe it to me.

“This is the sun shining,” he explained, “and these are birds, and these are clouds ’cause it’s in the sky, and this is a angel drawing a picture.”

“An angel drawing a picture?” I echoed, confused.

“Well all the angels do drawings in heaven,” Daniel said with childlike confidence. “So does God.”

“What makes you say that?” I asked.

“It says so in the Lord’s prayer,” he said in an exasperated tone that indicated he considered himself already to have far surpassed his pastor father in the field of Biblical interpretation.

“What?” I asked, now even more confused. “Where does it say that?”

“At the beginning,” he huffed, shaking his head at my inadequate intellect. “Our father, who art in heaven.”

And, my friends, I must tell you that my sadness lifted immediately. The innocence and wisdom of the young are to be cherished. I gathered Daniel into my arms and we watched the rest of the game together. My team lost – but it didn’t matter. That wasn’t important. What mattered was the time I spent with my precious son. When the game ended, I hung that picture on the refrigerator door.

Daniel is now a young man with two children of his own, but that picture is still hanging on the fridge, and it gives me joy every time I look at it. I must admit that even now, when I recite the Lord’s Prayer, I always imagine the angels, and Jesus, and even God Himself, at tables liberally strewn with crayons and coloured paper and all manner of art supplies. And I always think of my son Daniel, who was brave enough to step into Daddy’s space and brighten his father’s day, just as all children everywhere brighten the Heavenly Father’s day.

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