I wish it had not been my daughter. You see, the moment I tell you that this story involves my daughter, you will read these things and think, “He’s embellishing that.” I both swear and affirm that I am not. This conversation is burned into my brain. Some of you are going to drift. “Oh, he’s just a dad bragging on his daughter.” Believe me when I tell you that there are elements of that here, but what I wish to convey to you is surprise and hard truths that came from a very unexpected source.
As a preacher, you’re always looking for stories, examples, analogies… ANYTHING to help convey a larger point in a memorable way. I was once called the king of analogies.
We were riding in the car the other day, when my eldest, 10-year-old Liliana, said, “Daddy, I think we should get a Charlie Brown Christmas tree this year.” (We had seen them in the pharmacy and other stores. You can buy a Charlie Brown Christmas Tree of your very own here.)
“Why is that, sweetie?”
Well, it reminds me of my favorite verse.
……….. (That’s actually what appeared in my head. Just a stream of dots trying to make a connection)
“What do you mean, Lili?”
“Well, you know how when Charlie Brown went to get the tree? He really liked it. But it couldn’t support more than one ornament, and nobody else thought it measured up. Everybody said it was a dumb tree and didn’t look like a real Christmas tree.”
“How does this remind you of your favorite verse?”
“Well, I don’t remember where it is, like the numbers and stuff, but it says, ‘Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.'” (For reference sake, that’s I Timothy 4:12, and, yes, she actually said the whole thing.)
……….. (Starting to grasp it, but the shock is setting in)
“And, like, God wants me to be me, and do the stuff He wants me to do. And I might not look like everybody else, and I might not even be what people expect me to be, but I can be what God wants me to be.”
The eyes are getting wider. She is oblivious.
“And, like, the ornament, you know? Remember when you said that God has a calling for each of us? That’s our ornament. That’s the ONE THING that we need to focus on because that’s our calling. And, so if I do that, and I try my best to be who God wants me to be, then it doesn’t matter what anybody else says. So, I just think we should get a Charlie Brown Christmas tree.”
I literally had to stop the car. I was crying. I tried to hug her and tell her how awesome she was, and how proud I was of her… I am certain I failed miserably. I don’t have the vocabulary to express my pride, my wonder, my amazement.
Yes, I was once the king of analogies, the master of the illustrated point.
I have been dethroned.
And, yes, we did buy the tree.