I was blessed to know three of my grandparents when I was growing up and all of them left faith impressions on me. Oma was the grandmother who passed me "spicy" peppermints before the sermon began at her church and who read to us from the Today booklet that she kept tucked inside her well worn, bookmarked Bible. She loved the weekly gatherings with her Ladies Bible Study (which had a Dutch name that I can still pronounce but have no idea how to spell), never missed an episode of the daily Christian television show 100 Huntley Street, and she signed every card she ever gave me: Love, Oma--Proverbs 3:5-6.
Pake and Beppe were the grandparents who carefully baked and prepared in their bakery the cubes of communion bread that were served in their church and who told us stories of God’s protection when they lived through WW2 in Holland. I remember Pake praying in Dutch both before and after every meal and Beppe clapping her hands together and exclaiming, “What a blessing!” at birthday celebrations and when meeting a new grandchild for the first time. Like Oma, the centerpiece on their table was a well-worn, bookmarked Bible.
Grandparents are uniquely positioned to share stories of God’s faithfulness with their grandchildren. Grandparents get to lavish love on their grandchildren without worrying about parenting them and they get to be the people their grandchildren can’t wait to curl up on and spend time with. One of the coziest places to hear God’s stories must be on the lap of a grandparent.
That’s why I was thrilled to discover that almost one third of the people from my church who ordered the God Loves Me books for 2 and 3 year olds during the Faith Formation Ministries crowd funding campaign have purchased them for their grandchildren. Even more awesome—only two of those people are already grandparents! The rest bought the books in anticipation of the day when they would be able to tell God’s stories to their grandchildren. What a blessing!
The wonderfully revised and updated God Loves Me books are now available. The illustrations are bright and beautiful, the photos of children and their families depict God’s diverse family, and the stories are written in language that 2’s and 3’s can understand. The books are available in a boxed set of 52 Old and New Testament story books and each book can also be purchased individually. I can’t think of a better Christmas or baptism or birthday or “just because” gift from a grandparent to a grandchild (or future grandchild.)
I’m pretty sure my Oma, Pake and Beppe would agree.