My kids love to be read to, and part of our nightly ritual is sitting on one of their beds after they are all tucked in and reading sections of a longer chapter book. We alternate between books from the library, books we own and have read before, and the big children’s Bible they love.
The big kids can have a hard time settling down at the end of the day, so one of the expectations during the reading time is that they lay in their beds, practicing being “quiet and still”. They can of course ask questions, and there is typically a fair amount of “Excuse me, Mommy…” and “Excuse me, Daddy…” and the waterfall of questions that we have come to expect, especially from Mercy. (Someone made the comment this past week that if we could somehow charge admission for entry into our daughter’s mind, we would be rich!)
At some point, either if it is late, the kiddos are extremely tired, or there have already been enough questions asked, we will tell the kids that they need to lay still, with eyes closed, and no more talking. This is often what it takes for them to finally settle down enough to come anywhere near to sleep.
The other night I had reached the point with Mercy (Aaron had already passed out) where we were at the eyes closed/no more talking stage, and I was reading for her the story of Jesus’ death. This is almost always the story she asks for when I open up the big Bible.
As I finished reading about the crucifixion, I chose to keep going with the story and I read this:
“Peter and John returned home, but Mary stayed by the tomb weeping. Suddenly she looked up to see two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had lain.
“Why are you weeping?” they asked her.
“Because they have taken my Lord away.” As she spoke she turned and saw a man standing behind her in the shadows. It was Jesus, although at first Mary failed to recognize him.
At this point, Mercy’s body grew completely tense and her face started to twitch, yet she managed to keep those eyes closed and remain horizontal on her bed. I continued reading:
“Why are you weeping?” he said. Believing him to be the gardener, she asked him if he knew where the body had been taken.
“Mary, it is I.”
“My Lord!” she cried, her face full of joy.
As I read these last words, Mercy suddenly erupted into a grin that seemed to cover her whole body and her eyes flew open. And through that giant smile, her voice breathless, she hurried to explain: “Mommy, my face just always has to smile when she says “My Lord”!”
Mercy’s joy, uncontrolled and overwhelming, at hearing about that moment when Mary recognized Jesus; when she realized that her Lord was alive, is a good reminder for me of what this Sunday is all about.