Birthdays generally tend to be fun, not only for the one celebrating, but also for those bringing the presents. Today would be no exception. My kids and I had spent months planning this special event. We had carefully purchased just the perfect gifts, and the boys, being much handier than their dad, had wrapped them with care. The birthday breakfast was organized and underway, and we were just in the process of giving my wife our long-searched-for gifts when things turned a bit . . . Interesting!
I should have been watching my wife open a present from one of the boys, but movement over her head distracted me. It was a circular movement, like a swarm of insects, only in slow motion.
My mouth dropped open. It WAS a swarm of insects! Tiny ones, slowly circling above the head of the birthday girl!
“Don’t move!” I cried, jumping up on a chair for a closer look.
And not one or two or three, but hundreds of them!
“Man the battle stations! Enemy in sight!”
All eyes went ceiling-ward and all mouths dropped open. West-Nile virus is a serious menace in our area, and as we have an in-home aviary, we have to be especially careful that mosquitoes stay outside! But as the anti-mosquito swat team (literally!) Went into action, it soon became apparent that the tiny creatures weren’t confined to the kitchen. They also covered the walls and ceiling of the family room, and were quickly moving into the hallway! Fortunately these particular bugs appeared to be quite young, and as it was early in the fall, they were a bit sluggish. Where on earth had they all come from???
We made quite the spectacle that morning. Me, banging the walls and ceiling with my slipper; my wife swatting the little buggers with a fly swatter; and my boys, cleaning the dead bodies off of the walls and ceiling with wet paper towels. They didn’t get the footprints off however, and for some reason, the ceiling was covered with them . . . If anyone had seen us at that moment, they would have certainly wondered just what had been in our milk!
We were about half-way into the battle when I moved close to the floor-to-ceiling bookshelves to get a few more bugs. But wait! What was that on the top shelves? Certainly not mosquitoes!
“What are these blobs up here?” I asked.
It seemed that if I was going to learn the source of the mystery, I would have to investigate it myself; and since I had started my day out being Sherlock Holmes, why not continue with my self-assigned role? I went in to investigate. “Hey! It’s petrified bird poop! You guys know that birds aren’t allowed on the bookshelves!”
“Euh…” was the definite answer of my entire family.
We split up at this point. I made it my self-assigned task to clean up the bird poop, which by this time seemed to have become addicted to the wooden surface, while the rest of the family continued the extermination task. In the end, we weren’t certain which we had uncovered more of-mosquitoes or bird poop!
When the tasks were finally finished, we just sat down and looked at each other. With a smile I looked at my wife: “Happy Birthday honey!”
She rolled her eyes.
I wonder what that meant???
“At least you will never forget this unique birthday celebration,” I suggested. Then I had to smile to myself as I envisioned the follow scenario 20 years into the future: My wife sitting in an arm chair with several of her grandkids at her feet, begging for a story about their “daddy”. I could just see my wife’s eyes roll towards the ceiling, in much the same way they had just rolled a few seconds ago; and I could almost hear her voice: “I do seem to remember a very unusual birthday that your daddies planned for me. It all started when I was opening my presents. That crazy grandpa of yours thought he saw movement over my head . . .”
Yes, even I had to admit it was crazy. I mean, how many people do you know who chase mosquitoes and clean up petrified bird poop as part of their birthday celebration? But then, why should we have been surprised? After all, the unexpected is always to be expected. Plans may seem well-made, right down to the minutest of details, but something always happens to mess up some part of the arrangement. Take weddings for example. They never progress as planned, but it’s always the unexpected that make them unforgettable!
With God however, nothing is unplanned. He still stands out in all of the highlights of history, especially in His mysterious appearance as flesh and bones. His brief stay on earth was filled with love, healing and compassion. He willingly died on an ugly cross so that we could live. His shattering resurrection was unheard of, and He showed Himself to many over the course of the next 40 days to assure us that His message was true: We had been reconciled with God and God wanted us to be His friends. Never was love so clearly manifested on planet earth. The Creator willingly dying for His creation so that His creation did not have to be separated from Him any longer. Eternal life is for us to grab. We only need to cry out to Jesus and accept Him into our lives to live a life beyond anyone’s imagination.
“Your life is a journey you must travel with a deep consciousness of God. It cost God plenty to get you out of that dead-end, empty-headed life you grew up in. He paid with Christ’s sacred blood, you know. He died like an unblemished, sacrificial lamb. And this was no afterthought. Even though it has only lately – at the end of the ages – become public knowledge, God always knew he was going to do this for you. It’s because of this sacrificed Messiah, whom God then raised from the dead and glorified, that you trust God, that you know you have a future in God.” (1 Peter 1:17-21 The Message)
The most unexpected event in history stands out as a splendid beam announcing that salvation has been made possible for lost humanity. “God didn’t set us up for an angry rejection but for salvation by our Master, Jesus Christ. He died for us, a death that triggered life.” (1 Thess 5:9-10 The Message). May we share this unforgettable event with our grandkids and with everyone we care about. Jesus is alive and He has some terrific news for you!
P. S. Would you like to attend our next birthday celebration? The more the merrier, especially if facing myriads of mosquitoes, piles of petrified bird poop, and maybe even worse! Just let me know.