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The Christmas Cradle

A father's special gift to the mother of 5 sons.

A Christmas cradle. Photo by Rolf Aasa, Thinkstock.

I sat at Mom’s table on a blustery, early-December day. Dad was in his workshop. We could hear the buzz and whirs of his sanders and saws.

“What’s Dad busy with?” I asked.

Mom smiled. Gently. With love in her eyes. “He’s making baby doll cradles for the last little girls.”

Of course. It was almost Christmas, and the doll cradles were a tradition. He’d made them for all the granddaughters. Now the youngest two were of age.

I’d just had my fifth son.

A Christmas cradle. Photo by Rolf Aasa, Thinkstock.I wrapped my hands around my coffee mug and smiled back at Mom. She knew my heart. I was so thankful for my boys. So confident that the Lord had given me an abundance. I didn’t regret for a moment not having a girl.

But I did have a tenderness for the cradles. Maybe because I’d spent my childhood playing with dolls. Maybe because I knew the cradles would be passed down from generation to generation. Dad had made a number of things for my boys–shelves that looked like trains and pegboards shaped like baseball bats.

But it wasn’t quite the same.

A few weeks later, my three sisters and our families gathered around Mom and Dad’s tree to exchange gifts. I watched as Dad quietly disappeared and returned with the first cradle. My niece clapped her hands and jumped with joy.

Then Dad disappeared again and returned with the second cradle. Another little girl squealed with delight. I was drawn into the scene. Lost in the beauty. I didn’t even notice that Dad had left the room again.

Until I looked up and saw him coming down the hall with a third cradle.

A third cradle?

Dad knelt and placed his gift in front of me. My hands shook as I reached out and ran them over the smooth wood. Down the shiny spindles. Over the soft, red bow that was looped over the stand.

“For me?” I asked.

Dad nodded and spoke tenderly. “To tuck away, for when the Lord brings that first baby girl.”

I knew it would be many years before that little one would come. It would be a granddaughter of mine. A great-granddaughter for my father. But Dad wanted me to have this gift.

He stretched past the present and into the future with a beautiful kind of love.

When I think about it, it’s very much like the way the Lord loves us. He longs to have a personal relationship with us today, for us to know Him and walk with Him daily.

But His mercy, kindness and grace stretches to eternity. It’s the desire of His heart that we’d spend the rest of forever in the joy and glory of His love.

His love stretches forward to heaven.

I’ve heard it said that during the Christmas season, people are more open to hearing the Gospel than at any other time.

As I sit today and remember that special Christmas, the year that Dad’s love moved beyond the here and now, I wonder if there is someone in my life with whom I can share God’s forward-reaching love?

Salvation, His love-gift of grace, is for today.

But it’s for unending tomorrows, too.

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