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The Grinch.

He goes everywhere with us. You may have seen him in some of my photos.

He was a last-minute gift to my then 9yo for Christmas in 2020.

Her sister had one more present than she did, so we bought this as a quick extra gift to balance it out. (If you are not a parent yet, please take note, the kids will always count and insist on fairness.)

Having not really had any type of comforter previously, straight away she started taking him everywhere.

I say straight away, but Christmas 2020 was the first Christmas during lockdown, so we didn’t really go out much. But as soon as we did, Grinchy also came with us.

He’s called Grinchy (not The Grinch) as that’s what his neighbour calls him in the recent animated version with Benedict Cumberbatch doing the voice of the Grinch.

Grinchy now looks like a toy that has been loved for many years.

He has been to Cambridge, to Luton, to Yorkshire.

He’s been on boats, in cars, climbed on bridges.

He’s been used as bait in a trap at Forest School.

He’s been given fancy dress outfits to suit the occasion.

I can recall at least two occasions where I’ve had to drive back to the house to collect him.

He’s been loved, lost, squashed, and squeezed.

My Mum even made my daughter a photo album of Grinchy’s adventures for Christmas last year!

Despite all the new toys which have come into our lives in the last 15 months, Grinchy still holds prime position and is ALWAYS taken to bed at night.

He’s so Always There, it’s easy for me to forget about him. But my daughter is constantly aware of him, of bringing him with her, of taking a bag to carry him in or a wrap to attach him to her, of making him an outfit or giving him accessories so that he can join in what we are doing.

This makes me think of God and how He is omnipresent.  But what does that big word even mean?  The concept of God being everywhere is hard to grasp.

I have to say that I think of an omnipresent God as sort of floating around in the air all around us.

But the presence of God with us is a lot more like Grinchy – he is always with us. Wherever we go, he goes. Just like Grinchy, He’s so always there but it’s easy to forget about Him.

Yet for us to appreciate his presence, we need to be like my daughter, consciously involving him in all our mundane activities, our trips, our bedtimes. Never leaving without intentionally bringing him.   Giving ourselves ways to connect with Him when we are out and about. Feeling the safety and comfort of His presence.

Perhaps this is one of the reasons why children have comforters – they sense that need for comfort and closeness from the start.   Are comforters the beginning of their theological understanding of an omnipotent God who is always with them?

How might you remind yourself of our omnipresent God today?

Here are some ideas I had of ways we could do this and encourage others to as well:

  • Have a special picture or box or words taped on the wall near the front door. We have a Jewish mezuzah with the blessing from Deuteronomy inside it. Each time we leave the house we kiss our hand and then touch the box as a sign that we honour God and remember him.
  • At New Year we did a chalk blessing on our home – more here – which is a great reminder each time we see it that God is with us in our home, blessing everyone in it.
  • Put a stone in your pocket – For my birthday I was given a glass pebble by a 7-year-old. I placed it in my coat pocket and told her that each time I touched it, I would remember her. This would be an easy way to do this and remember God, especially if you spend a moment talking about it and asking God to use this pebble to help you remember him whenever you put your hand in your coat pocket.
  • We have a prayer game we sometimes play in the car – whenever we see a car that looks like a friend’s car or a lorry with their name on it, we pray for them. It’s a way to remember that God is with us when we’re out and a way to remember to pray and ask Him to bless our friends as we travel.
  • Whenever we set off on a car journey, especially long ones, as we put our seat belts on, we say a short prayer asking God to be with us, to give us a good journey (less fighting in the back please, Lord!) and to bless our time with whoever we are going to see.
  • Daily routines are good ones to couple with remembering God, as we do them every day, and they are kind of ‘dead time’ for our brains. Why not spend the two minutes you are brushing your teeth asking God to give you good words today, things to encourage and build up the people you speak to. What about making your bed, putting on socks or folding the laundry?
  • Have you seen the trolley in your supermarket which collects food and other items for a local food bank? It’s another way we can see God at work in our day to day lives – let the trolley be a reminder to put something in, and also to pray for those who will receive it.

Listening for His voice and His nudges. He cares when we lose our keys, our wallet, or our patience. He often helps me find all these things.