Every morning I have the sacred privilege of taking my children to preschool. The conversations in the car are varied – depending on our collective mood. A few days ago we drove to school and Tayla said, “Dad today my heart is full of joy”. I asked her why and she replied, “Because it is going to be a good day.”
One of their favourite activities in the car is to have the windows down so that the wind can blow through their hair. They also love it when our two dogs join us for the ride. Mocha usually sits in the front with me. She sits upright and looks like a human in the passenger’s seat. Lillo, like Liam and Tala, loves to position her head for optimal wind absorption. Her ears flap next to her head as if they are clapping hands.
When the kids and the dogs are in the car we are quite the spectacle and it is fun to see the reaction of fellow motorists, they usually smile. On the way to school we usually pray and the kids have developed a prayer that goes like this (in Afrikaans it rhymes),
“God thanks for this great day, wherein we can play and laugh”.
“Here, dankie vir hierdie dag waarin ons kan speel en lag”.
Because of the immense crime problem in South Africa the preschool they attend has a camera at the gate so that the teachers can monitor who is seeking access. This camera has a dual purpose. Not only does it serve as a security measure, it also brings the kids lots of fun.
Over the years the camera has been used as a tool for saying goodbye. The children ask their parents to wave at them. Not so for Liam and Tayla. A wave is not good enough. Over the last few months their instructions on how the wave should be performed have become more ostentatious.
This morning I had to jump from a squatting position and spin in the air as well as use my arms in a chopping motion (per Liam’s request, he calls it “the shark”). The kids show me what to do and then I open and close the gate and stand in the road facing the camera. Then I will do the “moves”, that is what the kids call it.
Last week a pedestrian walked by and watched me do the moves. She burst out in laughter. To her I was just a weirdo doing “moves” to no one in particular. Over the last few weeks this routine has become very special to me. Every morning this liturgy reminds me of the love of Our Father.
The Bible gives us multiple pictures of the Father. The one I am reminded of every morning is painted by Zephaniah 3:17,
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing. ” (Zephaniah 3:17, ESV)
When I am done with the “moves” in front of the camera I hear a gentle whisper from the Father saying, “Tom I also do moves for you”.
These moves are filled with the soothing (quieting) rhythms of rejoicing, gladness and love. It is also full of energetic moves of exultation and loud singing and also contains the saving moves of might and salvation.
During this Advent I am thinking about the jumping God in front of the camera.
I am reminded that the One whose “coming(s)” we celebrate is above all a jumping God, full of love and ready to make moves. Soothing, energetic and saving moves.