“Dad?” my seven year-old asked, “what is a sacrifice?”
Conscious of properly defining every new word my voracious reader wants to learn, I asked, “where did you hear or read it from?”
“In the Bible, when Abraham and Isaac went into the mountains, God asked Abraham for a sacrifice,” he explained.
“Oh,” I began. “A sacrifice is something (or someone) whom you love very much, that you are willing to give up for God’s purposes,” I said in the context of that story.
He looked at me with a little worry on his face. “Do you mean that if God wants you to kill me, you would do it?”
It struck me that he became a little fearful of me, that there is this possibly that I could love something more than him. I took a moment to ask for a prayer of guidance, then I began to speak from the heart.
“I love you unconditionally. Without exception. Without reservation,” I said. “I would do anything for you. You remember that whenever Daddy promises you something, he always follows through, right?”
“Well, I promise that Daddy will do what he can do keep you from harm. And I promise to keep you safe. And I promise to love you forever.”
“You know what?” I explained, “Do you talk about God as one in three persons? The Holy Trinity?”
He nodded again.
“God came down from Heaven as Jesus. He suffered and died for our sins. He came because He loved us. He was the Sacrifice for all our sins, even if He did not sin himself. His Sacrifice saved us all.”
“Did Jesus really do all that? For all of us?” he asked.
“Yes he did,” I replied.
“He’s really cool,” he said.
“Does it mean we don’t need to sacrifice anything anymore?” he asked.
“No,” I replied, “His sacrifice was the model for all our sacrifices as well. There are some things we find hard to do, like our homework, for example, when we would rather play. If we remember that His Love is what pushed Him to sacrifice Himself, for the Good of all men, then we too must push on when things become difficult, to choose to persevere in doing good, rather than just do the easy things.”
“So that’s why you go to work in the hospital everyday,” he says with a laugh, “when I know you would rather be with us all day.”
“But I’m always home when you’re home — to be with you, right?” I replied.
“Because you love us! I get it now.”