My father traveled a lot when I was a child and teen, and even during my college years. It was a necessity of the kind of work he did. The trips he took tended to be for weeks, sometimes a couple of months at a time. My first recollection of him going away was when I was 7; it was traumatic for my young psyche because I knew I wouldn’t see him for a long time. That trip was to Pt. Barrow, Alaska (now just called Barrow), the northern most point in the United States.
Each occasion after that, it got a little easier as I grew accustomed to the routine: more trips to Alaska, the Baffin Islands off the northeastern coast of Canada, England, Italy and Germany are the ones I recall. He always sent my mother and me letters and postcards, and would call regularly. Dad was an amateur photographer, and when he came home he always had cool slides of the places he had been. We would turn out the lights and project them on a screen. Five and six decades later, I can still see some of those scenes in my mind’s eye.
During my kid years, it was invariable that just about as soon as he hit the door returning from a trip, I would run to him to give and get a hug, and I would ask, “What did you bring me?” He always had something, but for the life of me, I can’t recall any of them (with the exception of something he brought me when I was in jr. high school that reminded me of school). I’m sure I was happy with whatever those tokens were, with that one exception. But the fact that I can’t recall them says that I was happier that he brought himself home more than any trinket he brought with him.
I was reminded of this in the morning hours when reading Luke’s account of Jesus teaching His disciples not to worry about food or clothing or other material provisions, but to focus instead on seeking the kingdom of GOD (Luke 12). Near the ending of one section, Jesus concludes by saying, “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom” (v.32). What did my Father bring me? He brought me His kingdom.
He did that by bringing me His King, who invited me to follow Him. He did that by giving me new life and adopting me, and inviting me to be His son, and to call Him Father. He did that by giving me the Spirit of His King, and inviting me to be filled by Him.
What is this kingdom like? It is beyond all the similes and metaphors Jesus used to describe it in the Gospels because they are only finite examples that attempt to describe the infinite Him. We may forget about a precious pearl and a silver coin and a treasure in a field. We may forget about mustard seeds and leaven and nets filled with fish and vineyards of grapes. But we dare not forget about Jesus.
What did my Father bring me? He brought me the only thing worth having, the only thing that will last forever. He brought me Himself.
© Byron L. Hannon, 2019. All rights reserved to original text content.