Everyday Faith

When Love Stoops Down

It’s been pretty clear to us since my daughter learned to walk that she has hoarder tendencies. From the time she coordinated her eyes and her hands and learned to close her fingers around things, she has always been clutching something in her little fists.

When she was around two years old, anything small enough to fit into her hands became a treasure. Rocks, toothbrushes (yes, toothbrushes), sticks, coins, acorns….if it was within her reach and was present in any significant number, she had to have it and find more and more like it. She was easily obsessed.

Interestingly, because we love her and wanted to spend time with her, my husband and I also became obsessed with those same things. If you drove by our house on any given day, you were likely to see one or both of us walking around our yard, stooped over in an awkward position as we scoured the ground for acorns or rocks or whatever else might interest her that day. It became natural for us to search for things that we knew would interest her. When I was in Belize during that time, for example, while others on our mission team were buying culturally specific souvenirs to take back to their families, I was gathering rocks and toothbrushes for my sweet girl; I knew that nothing else I could bring her would please her as much as that would.

Being her mama during that stage taught me a lot about love. Because I loved her I was interested in the things that interested her. Because of my love for her, I would do things that were unnatural to me to make her happy. I am a college educated, reasonably intelligent woman, but I walked around hunting for rocks and collecting buckets full of acorns. It was certainly not logical, but it was love.

The trouble with this habit, though, was that her tiny toddler hands didn’t allow her to hold nearly as many of anything as she would have liked. Given her way, she would have been able to tote acorns by the thousand and toothbrushes by the dozen. But frustratingly, her limited grasp wouldn’t allow it. She would try to carry her treasures while stooping to gather more, causing an inevitable avalanche as everything tumbled to the ground. She couldn’t handle it all, and any time I saw her struggle, I had to step in. I had to help.

We did different things to help her. My husband introduced her to pockets; this naturally made my work with the laundry more interesting, but it made her task of hunting and gathering easier. We gave her different bags and buckets to carry her treasures in, and many times had our own hands and pockets full of the things she’d found.

No, it certainly wasn’t logical that two grown adults would spend their time and energy in this way. It made little sense that we would voluntarily weigh ourselves down with rocks or dirty our hands with acorns. It wasn’t logical, but it was love.

And today, anticipating the celebration of Christmas coming next week, it occurs to me that our God is a God of illogical love.

Because this entire season is founded on the fact that the creator of the universe Himself stooped. He stooped low to involve Himself in the mundane things of our lives.

Our Father is Almighty. He is all powerful and all knowing. He can do anything and be everywhere at all times, but given that ability and the irrationality of love, He chooses to be with us.

He chose to come here. He chose to become newborn flesh in order to walk alongside us, stooping in awkward positions as He preoccupies Himself with the things that are important to us. He gave Himself human hands, and willingly got those hands dirty with the loads we carry.

It would have been easier for me – as the mama of a hoarding toddler – to sit on the porch and watch my girl play by herself, searching for rocks and struggling with her load.

It would certainly have been easier and more logical for God – the Creator of all – to stand at a distance as we busy ourselves with the things of this life. Instead, though, out of love and an intense preoccupation with the objects of our affections, He and I both stepped out of our worlds and into the lives of those we love. I became obsessed with rocks and gathered thousands of acorns, and the God of the universe placed Himself within the helpless body of a baby boy. I bent to empty her hands of her burdens, and God Himself stooped to take on my burdens as though they were the most important thing in the world.

It isn’t logical, but it is love.

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