I would like to start by saying I forgot how much I missed getting in an Uber instead of driving myself and worrying about parking. Bless Up for Uber.
I’m flying to San Jose to be with my family for a very Polish Christmas Eve, aka my favorite thing ever. Rather than pay for outrageous parking rates at LAX for three nights, I opted to leave my car at my house with free parking and Uber to work, which is conveniently 5 minutes from LAX.
I honestly haven’t felt super in the “Christmas spirit” this year. It’s been unseasonably warm, even for LA, and I also work in a profession where we’ve already planned past Valentine’s Day. I’ve been trying to listen to Mariah Carey as much as possible and remembering the ~reason for the season~ (Jesus) to get myself into the holiday spirit, but it’s fallen a bit flat.
It’s also the busiest time of year at work. We do a crazy amount of business in the last few months of the year and right when I get back we have multiple events and three different tradeshows all within a few weeks. So today I was literally running around in my high-heeled booties trying to get everything printed and emailed and shipped in time before I had to leave for the airport. I finally sent my last email and waved goodbye to my coworkers, heading down to catch my Uber.
I got in and realized I’d gotten one of the drivers who loves to chat. Most of the time I honestly avoid these conversations, but the man who was driving the car this time was cheery and inviting and it was only a few minutes, so I figured I’d be polite. We started talking about where I was flying to and why. Once I’d gone through my plans, I decided to ask him about his holiday.
He explained that he is the father of twelve kids. Yes – you read that correctly. And he also has ten grandkids. So that’s 22 people visiting his wife and him for Christmas.
I laughed and joked that they could rent out a whole resort with that many people, but he told me his kids always request to come to his big house where they grew up and he still resides. They opt to be in the family home over any other vacation. Then he asked me, “You know what two words I hear the most when I have all those people at my house?”
I guessed words like “love” or “merry Christmas” or “Yay!” (Does that count as a word? Unclear.)
He looked over his shoulder at me and said, “Nope. The two words are Dad and Grandpa.” And as he said this, a big grin filled his face and I could tell he was beaming with joy and pride.
“I just love hearing my kids and grandkids call out my name,” he explained, still beaming. “And I love watching and looking out over all of them. They all have such different personalities and I just look at them like wow… We created our very own tribe.”
As he talked about his adoration for his children, I saw such a reflection of the Father. Our Heavenly Father also beams with pride as he looks at his children. He sees our different personalities and quirks and grins as he delights in what he created to reflect his glory. We each get to be a unique part of God’s “tribe” if we so choose to be – and he loves every single one of us so greatly.
I also think of his kids and grandkids’ response. They call out to him the whole holiday, over and over. And they do so without fear of being a burden or bothering him or his rebuke. They call out to him because he is their father or grandfather and they know his love for them. And he truly delights in their calling out. Just like the man who drove me to LAX, I imagine God’s favorite thing to hear is his children calling out, “Dad!”
So as I hop on my plane at LAX, I’m feeling much more in the Christmas spirit. I’m feeling the warmth and joy of a God who is loving and fully present and finds creative ways to make himself even more accessible – like taking on human flesh. I’m praising God for all he’s done this year – there’s so much to be grateful for. I’m resting in his delight in his children and his tribe – thankful to be a part of it.