In three days I will board a plane and wing my way through the friendly skies to sunny California! Yes, I am off to visit my daughter Julie’s family for a week—and I am so excited I can hardly wait! I am crossing things off my lists as I prepare to go—make and freeze food for Bob and Robbie while I am gone; make sure all the bills are paid and prescriptions picked up; clean house; pack suitcases; print boarding passes… I am sure Julie, son-in-law David, and their six children are just as busy on the other end getting ready for Grandma’s visit.
Speaking of my son-in-law, I have to brag on him for a moment. Julie called the other day and said David had noticed that I would only be there five full days after taking away the traveling days on either end of my trip. “That’s not long enough! Call your mom,” he told Julie, “and tell her if she wants to stay a few more days, I’ll pay for the change in her ticket.” Now, I ask you, how many men do you know who can’t get enough of their mothers-in-law and want them to stick around any longer than necessary? Bless his heart! It was a sweet offer, but I could not see him paying $200 for just a couple days more of my presence—plus, Bob needs me to come home and take care of Robbie so he can get back to work. So I will go and be thankful for the (short) time I have with them and enjoy every minute of it!
It is always non-stop fun when I visit David and Julie and their six children. Five of the six are BIG kids now—James is 18, Benjamin and Anastasia are 17, Joshua is 15 and Hannah is almost 12—but just as grown up in many ways as her older siblings. Only Josiah is little still. He is not quite one year old. The last time I was out there he was a newborn and they were just bringing him home from the hospital. I can’t wait to see the changes in that little rascal! I am sure he will keep us entertained! Julie says he is a wild child on wheels. He gets going in his walker, leans forward and lifts his feet in the air as he zooms around the kitchen. I can’t wait to see that!
The Big Five make their own fun, too. They love to play games, and if a game is one-on-one, such as ping pong or Connect Four or Battleships, they hold tournaments. They all play musical instruments and several of them enjoy different crafts. They’re all very active and love to hike, swim, fish, do archery and target shooting, ride bikes and skate… Julie and David jump right in and do many of those activities with them.
Grandma slows them down a bit when I come, but we will spend hours every day I am there playing games, or they will put on a concert for me, and we will cook or bake together or do crafts. They even taught me to shoot a bb-gun the last time I was there and I am looking forward to that again! One of our favorite activities together is to go to the beach—not to swim (there are sharks in that area and swimming is prohibited)—but just to explore the shore and enjoy God’s creation.
Julie and I have something special planned this time. Last year when I was there, we surprised the kids with “Hobbit Day.” When they woke up they discovered we had designated each room in the house a part of Middle-Earth and had fun activities and games geared to that theme planned to last throughout the day. They each took a name from one of the characters in The Hobbit or The Lord of the Rings, and we ate “hobbit food” at every meal. Another time, later that year, she and David did something similar with “Star Wars Day.” We decided to surprise them this time with “Medieval Day.”
I’ve already packed the two knight costumes I bought several years ago for a Medieval Banquet we had at our church, along with their swords, shields and battleaxes. (If my suitcase gets x-rayed at the airport, will plastic swords show up? I really don’t want my suitcase opened by security!) I also have a jester hat and plans to make the girls’ headpieces with Julie. I am taking my costume from the banquet, too, and hope to get a couple crowns and capes for David and Julie (the king and queen.)
We will start the day off with a Royal Proclamation (Hear ye, hear ye!) telling the kids that it is Medieval Day. Everyone will choose their costumes and titles (ie. Sir Benjamin or Princess Hannah). We have a tournament planned with a catapult, pool noodle jousting, archery, toothpick and balloon fencing, stone-throwing (at targets, not each other) and tug o’ war. We will hold a juggling contest and a jester contest (who can make the others laugh the fastest), and maybe to top off the day, a movie like “How to Train Your Dragon´ or “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.”
Julie and I have planned a menu including “dragon” eggs, cheeses and homemade bread for breakfast; vegetable barley soup, fruit and hard rolls for lunch; grilled drumsticks and meat and veggie skewers for supper, and Pepperidge Farm Chessman Cookies for a snack. No eating utensils allowed, since they didn’t use them in the Middle Ages, and we will eat off of gold (paper) platters. I found a cute “Dragon Taco Dip” the other day that I would like to make for the evening when we watch our movie, and maybe we will combine that with “Knights of the Round Table” Pizza. Instead of ale, beer or wine, we will have ginger ale, root beer and grape pop. Hey, it may not be very authentic, but it will be fun!
And who really wants to go back to living the way they lived back in medieval times anyway? I cannot even imagine how difficult those days must have been. It’s fine to pretend for a day or a few hours a romanticized version of what it might have been like, but daily life back then was horribly hard and life expectancies were very short. We have some idea of what it might have been like back then, but people living in medieval times, in their wildest dreams, could never have begun to imagine how people of the twenty-first century would live! People speeding down the road, or even crazier, flying through the air, hundreds or even thousands of miles in one day?! Talking to someone on the other side of the world, even seeing and talking to them instantaneously?! Modern medicine that more than doubled the life span of man. Cooking a meal in a microwave. Buying clothes off the rack, groceries from a supermarket, anything our hearts desire.
Yes, times have certainly changed—but people have not. From the beginning of time, the Garden of Eden, people have loved, hated, laughed, cried, raised families, worked hard, had happy days and borne sorrows, struggled with relationships and struggled to survive. In Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, 9-10 we read,
Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher; “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
What profit has a man from all his labor In which he toils under the sun?
That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, “See, this is new”? It has already been in ancient times before us.
The way we live our lives is certainly different than in ancient times, but there truly is nothing new under the sun when it comes to human nature, emotion and spirit. As Adam and Eve sinned, so we still sin today. As they were created with a nature meant to worship their Creator, so are we all born with a need to worship Him. And from the moment they sinned, Adam and Eve needed a Savior—as has every single person born since then.
The Lord God has not changed from ancient times, either. The Psalmist said, “I have considered the days of old, the years of ancient times. I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds. Your way, O God, is in the sanctuary; who is so great a God as our God? You are the God who does wonders; You have declared Your strength among the peoples. You have with Your arm redeemed Your people, (Psalm 77:5, 11-15) The Bible tells us in Romans 1:20, “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse.”
From ancient times all the way until the end of time He will never change. He says in Isaiah 46:9-10, “ Remember the former things of old, For I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me, Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’“
He is the eternal God. He pre-dates ancient times and will exist when all time ends. Psalm 90:1, 2 says, “Lord, You have been our dwelling place in all generations. Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever You had formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God.” The relationship He forms with all those who trust Him for salvation will endure eternally, as well. “But the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, And His righteousness to children’s children, To such as keep His covenant, And to those who remember His commandments to do them.” (Psalm 103:17, 18)
The medieval age has passed. The years and decades, centuries and millenniums have marched on through the passage of time. Kings and kingdoms of history have come and gone. Only one King reigns eternal! “Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” (I Timothy 1:17)