Yesterday our kids waved palm branches from the local florist shop. They ran up on the platform at church and smiled and swished the branches while the congregation smiled back and sang, Prepare ye the way of the Lord.
In their Sunday school classes, they must’ve imagined the moment when Jesus appeared over some little hillside, riding a colt, the Lamb entering through the Lion’s Gate, cheered wildly by a crowd that would later call for His brutal murder. They must’ve pictured the children running through the streets, waving branches, looking at each other with wide excited eyes while hosannas rang in their ears.
Today Emerald spotted her wilting palm branch in the floorboard of our messy car. Mama, she asked, with a sweet curiosity, is Jesus coming by?
I was buckling her carseat, but my fingers suddenly went still, and my knees felt weak. All of the scenes of this holy week flashed through my mind: Jesus riding in triumph, knowing what was to come, last suppers, last sermons, last blessings, last breaths, and at last the great victory of resurrection day. All played out in intimate detail among us, His favorite creation. All planned before the foundations of this earth were laid, for us, His children.
And, I wanted to grab my precious baby by the shoulders and look her in the eyes and pour the truth into her soul: Yes! Yes, little girl, Jesus is coming by.
See Him for who He is. Believe Him. Hear what He says. Love Him. Oh, love Him with everything in you, sweet baby. He is coming by. And, we are hosanna singers. We take everything in this life that is dear and that is precious and we lay it all out like garments for Him to tread on. He is coming by. Jesus is coming by.
Her eyes were still bright with the question that lingered in the silence of our crusty minivan. I kissed her cheek, her dear little face a tender two years old, and smiled as I picked up her withered palm branch. I placed it in her chubby little hand and sang quietly. Prepare ye the way of the Lord.
She grinned and waved her branch.