Amidst the laundry-room clutter, I found two rectangular Kleenex boxes atop the dryer. In my hands, they were destined for the garbage bin. But then I saw the contents: each box held a Beanie Baby, resting in white nests of fluffy tissues.
From trash, the girls had made beds for two of their favorite friends — Harold and Pinata. I moved the “beds” to the girls’ playroom, and there, found even more beds.
Little Ponies were nestled in shoeboxes. Stuffed tigers and furry lions lined an old baby crib. Barbies napped under dish-towel quilts, on washcloth pillows. Everyone had a warm place, carefully arranged by little hands who intrinsically knew the value of feeling secure in one’s own place.
And that’s when I got to thinking about beds, and how thankful I am for ours.
Last week, I got an invitation from L.L. Barkat of Seedlings in Stone to participate in her cyber-Thanksgiving feast. It’s an opportunity to share a Thanksgiving memory, a special tradition, or a favorite Bible verse on gratitude. (You may join us at the table, too.) For a few days now, I have brainstormed ways to poignantly define gratitude, to brilliantly describe thankfulness. Perhaps I would draw out the deeper meaning of the “table of grace,” or recall my own family traditions that have withstood generations.
But beds? Was I to write about being thankful for beds?
It hadn’t occurred to me until last night that yes, I really must write about beds. That’s when I stumbled across two Kleenex boxes, a room full of cared-for toys and a real-live girl, under her patchwork quilt, with a prayer about her warm bed.
Lydia — I asked her, as I do every night — do you want to pray first, or shall I?
I’ll go first, Mommy, she said, and then she drew in closer under a purple sheet and thick blanket.
Dear God, she said, Thank you for my bed. I really like my bed. It’s so comfortable and big, and not everyone has a bed. Some people have to sleep on the floor, or in the hay. I wish everyone had a bed, God. Amen.
Last night — while the Lee family drifted to sleep in Queen-sized nests — about 1.2 million American children went to sleep in a car, or on the street, under a bridge, or in the borrowed bed of a shelter.
As I draw up the covers tonight around my girls and myself, I will thank God again for beds.
But what, then, will I do about the child without one? How will I respond? If Jesus showed up at the door tonight, where would he rest his head? Would I make room for him — or send him to the shed out back?
For, I remember what we did 2,000 years ago, somewhere in Bethlehem.
While we rested behind secure walls, a mother gave birth in the hay. She swaddled her newborn with bands of cloth, giving her baby a sense of security, best she knew how, in a dark and dirty world. Then she placed her infant in a bed: the feeding trough of a stable.
“Because there was no room for them in the inn.”
This post is a part of the Thanksgiving feast at L.L. Barkat’s Seedlings in Stone. Join us at the table. When you do, drop a comment by L.L.’s blog to let her know. L.L. will link to you in the Thanksgiving Celebration post (and Christianity Today and High Calling Blogs will link back to said post, so their readers can check out the full celebration).