Today we had a birthday party for my little boy. He’s still very young and after his nap took a little while to warm up to the small group who came to celebrate with us. The presents and delicious brownies my wife made helped quite a bit. By about hour two he was giddy and we had a game of trying to keep balloons afloat that got everyone in on the fun and especially had my little guy skidding around giggling. In short, he, and everyone else, had a blast.
I’m an only child and it looks like my son will be as well. As an only child, I’ve learned to be quite content “playing” by myself. There are only a handful of times in a given year where I really got why people love having big families. On a scale of 1 to 10, I’m probably a 9.8 in terms of social awkwardness, so big groups usually just mean anxiety. But, there are those times that stand out like gems in the timeline of my life where I haven’t wanted anyone to leave. Tonight was one of them. I can tell my little guy felt like that too. Since I’m an only child and being alone comes so naturally to me, it got me to thinking about what makes these kinds of moments stand out so much for me. Why, when I’m okay by myself, I love being with family.
After some introspection, I think it is something fundamental to how we have been created. People were made to be with people. Again, I’m an introverted, only child who can pretty much live in my own head for hours at a time without the need for outside interaction. I get independence. But I can’t deny that pull to be with others. It’s a glimpse into the character of the Creator, Who being outside time and space, completely whole and self-satisfied, still chose to create beings with whom to have relationships. He didn’t have to have us, but He wanted us and still does. This parallel seems especially important given that most Christians will be celebrating Palm Sunday tomorrow and Easter next Sunday. A day commemorating the level of love and sacrifice God was willing to show in order to restore the broken relationship between Himself and His creation.
The joy of these kinds of rare moments of family fellowship are also a picture, in my opinion, of Heaven. One day, all eyes will be on God the Father. Every member of His family will be gathered to Him and the joy of being with Him and with one another will know no limits or end. My son and everything he wanted to do at his party were the center of our attention, but we adults still found ourselves enjoying being with one another even as we focused on my son. I think that will be the same in Heaven. God at the center, our sole focus, but at the same time a blissful awareness and satisfaction in the company of all who are joined in a mutual love of Christ.
Another constant in my life has been the fleeting nature of events like tonight. People move, relationships get broken, and most painfully, people pass away. Imagine the pure, unmitigated bliss of never having the feeling of nights like tonight never end.