The Father Who Comes Out Of The Shadows

The dvds lie skewed in the cabinet, the christmas movie line up almost finished.

It is our family tradition to make merry in fantasy, humor and good storytelling in film. We laugh at a grown up elf, take away life lessons from Dickensian puppets, and ponder a life wonderfully lived. We end it in animation by remembering what Christmas is all about.


In the middle of our line-up there are two stories, one rough, rude; the other proper and sentimental. The first tweaks those who find the humor inappropriate.  The second tweaks those who find the sentiment unrealistic.

I understand, but I don’t watch them for the humor or the sentiment.
I watch them for what happens in the end.

There are two gifts.
There are two sons.

In the first story, the son, a little boy, is given the gift of his dreams, despite the fact that everyone around him promises he will shoot is eye out. Yet, it’s the father, a seemingly clueless and crass man who knows what is in his son’s heart, what will give him the most pleasure. It is the father whose face breaks sheer joy when he watches his son tear the paper, break open the box, dispense the BBs.

In the second story, the son is a self-conscious adolescent worrying about his future in Depression era Virginia. He aspires to be a writer, but is embarrassed to share his dream with anyone, least of all his parents. Yet, it’s his father, who is unable to be present most of the time due to work, that somehow knows what’s being birthed in his son’s heart. He comes bearing the gift of writing tablets.

The endings of these stories get me every time.
It is because I am hard-wired to be loved like that.

We all want a father who knows our heart’s cry. We want a father who knows what we need when we need it.
We go humble and contrite, but our hearts explode great joy when we realize we didn’t even have to speak our ache, our fears, our hopes, our desires… He just knows.


These stories are visual aids for me.
They are sad shadows, really, of the real thing, but sometimes the shadows are all we can see through the details of our life.

I need reminders that I have been given a gift come screaming in a feed trough. I need reminders that I do have a Father that knows the ache of the human heart and that He’s come out of the shadows to fix it for good.

Good news has been shouted. Darkness has received the fatal blow of a glorious light, a wrapped and swaddled gift that only a Father could know we needed.IMG_7037

I turn to see.


A son has been given.
This new beginning gets me every time.


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