This year for Christmas we bought the boys the book Little Pilgrim’s Progress, the retelling of John Bunyan’s story of Christian’s journey through life. The boys have listened in rapt wonder as I’ve read chapter after chapter each night. Micah still doesn’t understand much and can’t wait to get to the part where Christian is afraid of the lions, and Asher never fails to ply me with questions. Asher has quickly grasped the allegory and knows that the King is God, the Son is Jesus and that the Celestial City is Heaven. His eyes light up when Help comes to Christian, and his brow furrows when Christian is fearful.
Tonight in our readings, Christian came to the Cross, and I read:
Presently he came to a place where there was a little hill by the side of the road, and upon the hill he saw the very thing for which he was longing. There stood the Cross, and the moment little Christian began to climb the path that led to it, he felt that the bands that fastened his burden were breaking. Then it fell from his shoulders and rolled to the bottom of the hill, and when he turned to see what had become of it, he found that it was quite gone…he stayed looking at the Cross, with his heart full of joy and thankfulness.
I was overcome by the beauty of the Cross in these simple words, and I paused to try to regain control of my emotions. I thought about my kids and wondered if they would understand the wonder of the Gospel in these simple words. It was then I turned and looked at Asher whose face was lit up with excitement. Here is the conversation that followed:
Ash: Mommy, what was in the burden?
Me: Those were Christian’s sins that God forgave when Christian came to the Cross.
Ash: Because Jesus died for his sins.
Me; That’s right.
Ash: Mom, why didn’t Christiana believe when Christian did? Why did she wait?
Me: Remember how we talked about how not everyone believes in Jesus. Well, Christian was a good friend to Christiana and told her all about Jesus and Heaven. She believed after Christian had left for his journey and she wanted to learn about Jesus and love Him, too.
Ash: When did you believe in Jesus?
Me: Well, I grew up hearing about Jesus and being taught all about Him, but I didn’t believe in Him and ask Him into my heart until I was 12.
Ash: Why did you wait until you were 12?
Me: That’s just when God worked in my heart. You don’t have to wait until you’re 12. Anyone can ask Jesus anytime.
Ash: But I already have Jesus in my heart, right, Mom? Because you’ve been praying for me since before I was born.
Me: I have been praying for you, but I can’t make you believe. I can’t put Jesus in your heart as much as I want to.
Ash: Can I ask Him tonight?
And so, my little man, bowed his head, placed his forehead on his folded hands and prayed, “Heavenly Father, I pray that you would forgive my sins and take them all away. And I want Jesus to come live in my heart every day until I die. In Jesus name, Amen.” The grin on his face when he lifted his face was like one I’ve never seen.
Ash hugged me and said, “I’m so happy.” Then he turned to Micah and said, “Micah, you pray, too, just like I did. Say the same thing.”
So my other little man bowed his head, and prayed, “Heavenly Father, I pray that you would make Mommy’s heart go away with her boo-boo. I pray that Asher, Danny and me would get to ride on an airplane to Grandma and Grandpa’s. I pray that Mommy would feel all better. In Jesus name, Amen.” I never will figure out what world he lives in!
All in all, though, I’d say the New Year is starting off quite well. Soli Deo Gloria!