“But we didn’t spend any time together today.”

Katy Claire’s voice whimpered through her darkened room as I knelt by her bed to say good-night. We had finished singing “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” in our own special way (I start each line, she finishes the rest) and snuggled up with an army of stuffed friends. She now began to search through heavy-lidded eyes for any reason she might be allowed to get back up and play.

But I was ready for this one: I reminded her of the ways our day had intersected, both morning and afternoon. We read stories, took a walk, watched a movie. She’d helped me cook the evening meal, sat by me at the table for dinner. And tomorrow was bringing more times, too — Christmas shopping and family fun.

“Oh,” she whispered happily. “I just forgot.”

So much of good parenting is reminding — pointing back to times before and ahead to what is coming — turning small hearts away from the problems of the present to the Truth that runs down through time.

And it is the same way with our faith. Joy comes in the not forgetting — perseverance in a holy mindfulness. To press on through the fog of pain, we must continually recall times of blessing and favor and undeserved grace — the sweet gifts of the past and clear promises for our future.

The only thing heavier than our moment’s sorrow is the weight of what was and is and is to come.