Little Danny was two years old when he got his shiny red tricycle. He had never seen anything so beautiful; there it was waiting by the Christmas tree amidst the packages and decorations, beckoning him to jump on.
His parents weren't up yet, but he knew he had to ride this incredible toy Santa had left for him, so he hurried down the stairs and hopped on. He maneuvered and pedaled as best he could through the maze of Christmas boxes and furniture and...smack, stopped with a thud, his upper lip making contact with the corner of the coffee table.
His cries of pain were enough to wake not just his parents, but the entire neighborhood as well. His reddened eyes stung with bitter tears and his chubby cheeks were rosy and hot. Bright red blood trickled from his swelling lip.
His father came quickly and scooped him up in a big bear hug, jostling and tossing him around until his tears turned to giggles.
When Danny was six he was throwing a baseball in the house. His mother had told him repeatedly not to, but he loved tossing that ball; watching the red stitches slowly spin as it landed square in his glove.
Crash! The ball got away from him and knocked over his mother's favorite lamp. It had been her mother's lamp and was a family heirloom (WAS being the operative word).
His father bared his bottom and spanked it till it was burning red. “This hurts me more than it hurts you, son,” his father said. Rubbing his back side he picked up his ball and glove and went off to his room, wondering how that could possibly be true.
Danny was nine he received a beautiful Valentine's day card from a pretty little girl in his class. When he read what she had written his cheeks turned rosy with happy embarrassment. He checked the “yes” box that asked if he liked her.
When they were sixteen Dan took that girl to a dance. She looked stunning in her red dress. He had never seen anyone so beautiful. He told her so and handed her a single red rose, and this time it was she whose cheeks blushed.
Later that night, some guys picked a fight with Dan. They had all been drinking. Tempers flared, fists clenched, punches were thrown. Dan saw a blur of red marks, bruises, and blood...and then the flashing red lights of a police car. The evening did not end the way he had hoped.
At the age of eighteen Dan went to church with that young lady. She was a Christian. He was not. He sat in the pew listening to the preacher talking about a loving Father sacrificing his Son to take away his sins.
“Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends,” the preacher read. Daniel did not understand. Why would a father allow his son to be killed? His parents had been so protective of him...he just didn't get it. The preacher went on, “...though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow.”
When he was twenty-five, Daniel watched little Danny riding his red trike on the sidewalk. “He is such a great kid,” he said right out loud. He reminded him so much of himself when he was that age...rowdy, rambunctious, and always ready for adventure. He was so proud of his boy.
Danny was having so much fun he failed to notice the curb and careened off into the street, right into the path of an oncoming car. Daniel watched in horror and acted on pure instinct and adrenaline.
Never giving it a second thought, he ran to his son and grabbed him up covering him as the car went over his body instead.
Daniel lay there seeing red; ambulance lights, blood on the street, and the tear stained cheeks of his wife. “I understand now, Lord. Thank You for saving me, and for allowing me to save my son.” He closed his eyes and everything faded to white. Little Danny crawled out from under Daddy and ran to his mom, who scooped him up in a big hug.
Later, young Danny brought a single red rose, wiping stinging tears from his cheeks, and gave it to his dad...who lay very still.
His father opened his eyes and did his best to smile.
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