A frilly blue and white “Alice in Wonderland” dress found on a great sale months ago inspired my daughter-in-law Rachel’s clever plan for a very fun and special birthday party theme for our granddaughter this past weekend. It was absolutely perfect for five-year-old Raeme, the classic little lady whose eyes sparkle at the sight of pretty dresses, nail polish, glitter, jewels and ballet slippers– though, admittedly, she doesn’t hesitate for a nano-second to hike a trail or climb a tree with her 6 year old cousin Jakob, who talks of owning a tractor, combine harvester, and sizable acreage in Iowa, Illinois or Kansas some day.
It was a very fun– and very funny– party! Her Daddy, dressed in a huge, bright Mad Hatter top hat, kept the house full of siblings and cousins giggling, and grandparents, uncles, and aunts chuckling over his very convincing Mad Hatter dialect, and although three-year-old Sadie bowed out of dressing as the White Rabbit afterall– choosing a frilly pink party dress instead– she chased her sister through the house nonetheless exclaiming, “I’m late! I’m late, for a very important date!…” while Uncle Justin tickled the tummies of the little ones with a stuffed grinning Cheshire cat.
After a very funny treasure hunt that kept the children laughing over clues hidden in very silly places, everybody gathered for lunch at a long “Mad Hatter tea party” table beautifully set with white linen and lavender napkins. Teacups and saucers filled with purple lilacs, pink gerbera daisies, and fern leaves ran the length of the table creating beautiful centerpieces, while lavender, pink, and light blue paper lanterns hung on ribbons overhead. So, so pretty! Freezing raspberries into the ice cubes may have been a simple enough thing for Rachel to do, yet it amazed the six fascinated cousins/grandchildren.
I love celebrating birthday parties! Without a doubt, the grandkids do too, and in her beautiful blue and white party dress, surrounded by all the special things that her mother clearly knew defined her, the birthday girl radiated happiness!
For Raeme, it wasn’t just the pretty dresses, the flowers, the pink and purple accents, teacups, linen, jewelery or ribbons that produced that beautiful reflection of contentment, though clearly, she thrives in her feminine role. But even more, it was also the fact that she was surrounded by the most important people in her life– her Dad and Mom, siblings, two sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins– who together form the secure fabric of her identity. She is part of our family. She belongs here. She knows who she is. She knows what she is a part of and what is required of her. And consequently, it forms the strong foundation that will support her for the rest of her life.
Birthday parties are a such a wonderful way to celebrate the secure identity of the child. Without a doubt, one of a parents’ most primary responsibilities is to provide the peaceful security that comes from affirming to their children who they are, who God is, and what their purpose is in life. Without the secure affirmation of their identity, children are left merely floating aimlessly with no anchor or foundation– which isn’t freedom, it’s terrorizing fear.
Last week in Canada, grief surged through me when I read an article in the Toronto Globe and Mail newspaper about a set of parents who just gave birth to their third child. Erroneously convinced that they are doing something significantly right, they have withheld knowledge of the child’s gender, even to the child’s grandparents. The child, apparently, has supposedly been “set free to choose” its gender without the binding hindrances that society inflicts. What it will create in reality is a very confused and frustrated child, left aimlessly to wander without any point of reference with which to base his-or-her identity.
Ironically, if the parents were to consistently uphold their premise that no binding preconceived ideas should influence the child in determining an identity for him/herself, then they would also necessarily have to abandon their roles as the child’s parents. According to their own method of reasoning, if the gender that the child was born with is arbitrary, then the parents themselves must also necessarily remain arbitrary. What chaos.
These parents are inflicting upon a mere child the impossible and monumental task of doing what only God Himself can do. Romans 1:22-29 addresses individuals who assume such arrogance in the power of man: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man… Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator who is blessed forever!”
Trying to celebrate a child whose identity has been intentionally stripped away makes no more sense than the confused Mad Hatter singing, “A very happy unbirthday to you….”
Somewhere right now there is a little child– in fact, many little children– who need to hear the sweet affirmation that they have been individually, intentionally, and purposefully created by God, in the glorious image of God, to reflect His glory and to fulfil His purpose. Only God Himself can “set the solitary in families, and bring out those who are bound with chains” (Ps.68:6.) And, Praise God, He does. And that’s definitely something worth celebrating!
Powered by Facebook Comments