“The life of true holiness is rooted in the soil of awed adoration.”

J.I. Packer

My kids laugh at my jokes. Nobody’s told them, yet, that Dad Jokes aren’t that funny. At church, people have noticed that my children heartily laugh at my jokes when I’m teaching. These friends have made comments to me about how encouraging that is–that it’s a sign of health, authenticity, warmth, and rapport. My children’s laughter is something they appreciate about the class.

Obviously, their laughter brings me tremendous joy. But I was surprised to learn about how much other people love it too. It would never have occurred to me that my children’s laughter bolsters the classroom experience–perhaps because I get to enjoy their laughter everyday at home. But now I’m convinced. I think their laughter is a form of adoration–and it makes everything more compelling as it backs up my teaching with observable relational warmth.

Packer’s quote is about holiness–the reality of someone growing in wisdom and virtue as they progress in the Christian life. He says that adoration–awed adoration–is the soil that nurtures this growth. Why? Because we want to be like that which we adore–we can’t help but imitate that which captures our wonder. Which is why it’s critical for us to be people who: (1) are still capable of awe (who haven’t wilted into cynical mockers); and (2) aim that adoration at Our Lord Jesus–His person, His work, His goodness to us.

So, I’m thankful for these little signs of adoration–hopefully my children will want to be like their Daddy & Mommy. I’m thankful that their youthful adoration is encouraging others. My prayer for them as they grow older, is that their laughter will grow–their adoration will grow–their sense of wonder at their Heavenly Father will give them hope when they feel disappointed, courage when they feel afraid, boldness when they need to take a stand, consolation when they feel sad, and a humble joy that appreciates the simplest (even lamest) of gifts.