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Fragile Things

As my small son and I rock back and forth on the floor, I’m reminded of what’s important.

A fragile snow globe. Photo by Solar Seven, Thinkstock.

“Let’s get the decorations from the closet at the top of the stairs!” Isaiah says.

Logan is home for Christmas, and Isaiah has been waiting.

I’m curled on the sofa with a book, but I watch as my youngest son and his oldest brother head to the stairwell. They’re on a mission.

The major house decorating happened weeks ago, but there hasn’t been a spare moment to finish. To retrieve the last of the Christmas things.

I listen to their footfalls.

Up the stairs.

Back down.

And when my boys return, their hands are full.

I look up from my book. “Thanks, guys,” I say.

Logan places an angel, a long-ago love gift from my grandmother, on a shelf, but Isaiah stands still. He’s holding a snow globe that’s older than he is. He gently turns the key and “Away in a Manger” plays.

“It’s beautiful,” Isaiah says. He admires the globe. The tiny holy family. The Babe in a manger. Everything under the water. Contained in glass.

He gives the globe a gentle shake and the corners of his mouth curve to a smile as gold glitter swirls. It’s a precious scene. Isaiah’s head tilts down, sweet hands wrapped around this treasure.

“I love this, Mom,” he says. But when speaks, he looks up.

And the globe slips from his hands.

It smacks the ground. Liquid pools on the floor. Pieces of glass lay jagged. The family inside has broken from the base.

But the music plays on.

I spring from the couch. Logan moves fast, too, and grabs a towel from the bathroom. Together we pick up fragments of glass.

Glitter water seeps between the planks of hardwood and I’m filled with remorse. This treasure has been with us for years. It’s been held by five pair of small hands.

Logan and I are working silently, together, when Isaiah begins to cry. He’s doesn’t sob. Or weep. This is a loud, howling cry that comes from his center. It comes from a place of grief.

I turn to face my broken boy and suddenly the treasure on the ground, shattered and lost, has lost value. In this moment, there’s just me and my son’s wide-open, hurting heart.

“Oh, Isaiah,”I say. “It’s okay. It’s doesn’t matter. It’s just a thing.”

“I’m sorry,” he says. But he continues to cry.

Logan mops up water and gathers shards of glass. But I pull Isaiah to my lap.  He turns around and presses into me. His heart is close to mine and his tears are on my cheeks. We hold one another. For a long time. Until the darkness of regret flees.

And there, as my small son and I rock back and forth on the dining room floor, I’m reminded of what’s important. Of what matters. Of the best kind of treasure. Of true riches and complicated, beautiful things.

Like the depth of feelings.

And sweet sensitivity.

And care and concern for others.

I kiss Isaiah’s warm forehead.

Material things can be broken, but the human heart is the most fragile thing.

Lord Jesus, You value our hearts beyond measure. Enough to bring you here as a babe. Help me to always be mindful. Amen.

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All God's Creatures 2023 Devotional

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A Daily Devotions for Animal Lovers. This inspiring devotional brings you 365 touching stories of animals who appear at just the right moment providing comfort and bringing us closer to our faith.

Plus, enjoy four FREE beautiful, custom-designed note cards and envelopes with any print edition purchase.

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