One of our grandson’s started first grade this year. He is the first of our son and daughter-in-law’s children to begin first grade. It is a shell shocking experience for all parents. And so I figured on that first school day in September, I ought to FaceTime my grandson, get a good look at him and ask about his day.
“How was your first day of school?” I ask when I see his sweet face on my phone screen.
I get the usual boy response.
So I dig a little for detail.
“Did you know anyone?”
A man of few words, I see, well on his way to manhood.
So I extract the names of two friends. I discover after one day math is his favorite. And the teacher is nice. That’s all the information I can pull out of this guy, I think, so I move on.
I pan to the next little boy on the couch, the two-year-old. His eager slimy fingers grab at the cell phone. With his help, his daddy adjusts it so I can see his face.
“Did you have a good day?”
He nods the kind of exaggerated up and down only a toddler can.
“What did you do today?”
“Yeth.” His head bobs some more.
Another on his way to manhood.
I move on to the third little man.
Luca is three. He’s already shaking his head before the phone is in front of him. He’s heard the conversation now twice and anticipates the question. He smiles big cause he is ready with his answer.
“I-I-I,” he responds before I can even ask, “I didn’t have a day,”
Well, yes. I have a lot of days that would fit that description. You probably do too.
Mundane and bland they layer one upon another. Nothing distinguishes them or sets them apart. They are just blobby.
There’s a song our kids sang back in the day, words of Scripture that grab hold and repeat and repeat and repeat. And repeat. It was one of the first songs my family learned in a second language while living in another culture.
My brain sort of does a sidestep dance now between the worlds in both Italian and English, which of course could be chalked up to old age, but then again, let’s not.
“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 NKJV
These are the kind of things as a young mom, I used to clap my hands to, bend down eye-to-eye for, sing and dance around the house with when children were little and days blobby.
It was a super energetic band-aid over the drudgery yawn of life, a distraction, a pivot in attitude.
Because isn’t every day an appropriate day to acknowledge its Maker? And shouldn’t we rejoice and be glad for that?
Well, yes and again yes, but I never realized how much more there is to it.
Psalm 118, smack dab in the middle of the Bible is sandwiched between the shortest chapter and longest chapter in the Bible. A Jewish pilgrimage Psalm, it was sung in community, especially at Passover, and often on the road to Jerusalem.
Psalm 118 is one of the most quoted Psalms in the New Testament. It highlights God as Sovereign King and is intensely Messianic.
Crowds lining the road to Jerusalem, shouted Psalm 118:26 to Jesus while He rode His donkey into Jerusalem. “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
Psalm 118 was likely the last song Jesus sang with His disciples (Matthew 26:30) before they went to the Garden of Gethsemane, the stop before the cross.
The immense joy of “this is the day,” looks backward and forward, beyond blue skies and happy dances. It reaches back to the Messiah promised to Abraham, and ahead to the Redeemer Jesus.
“The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.” Ps. 118:22-23 NKJV
Jesus Himself quotes this, referring to Himself as the Chief Cornerstone. (Matthew 21:42; Mark 12:19; Luke 20:17)
Peter preaches it (Acts 4:11), declaring Jesus the stone the builders rejected and salvation in “no other,” and again in 1 Peter 2:6-8, “the Living Stone.”
Paul refers to “Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone” in Ephesians 2:20.
It’s so marvelous, this reality yet to come, the Psalmist says literally, “let us jump for joy.”
This is why joy spills out in praise. This is the reason for celebration.
“This is the day the Lord has made; We will rejoice and be glad in it.”
Oh my. It seems I’ve not done this day justice when I’ve neglected the Person for whom my soul jumps for joy.
May the next “I didn’t have a day” sort of day that comes your way bring you back to consider Jesus, the Chief Cornerstone, the foundation of our faith. May it shatter the gloom and split the heavens. May you marvel at His sacrifice on the cross and His resurrection overwhelm your soul.
May you jump for joy.