Friday, December 2, 2011

Finding Childlike Joy

 The way to Christmas lies through an ancient gate....It is a little gate, child-high, child-wide, and there is a password:"Peace on earth to men of good will."  May you, this Christmas, become as a little child again and enter into His kingdom. ~Angelo Patri

Sweet Morgan visited with me today.  Even before her mother left the house she bounded to the back door saying, "Mawmaw, I found it!"  Aunt Melodie had sent some Christmas packages and I thought Morgan found them.  Instead, she pulled me into the living room exclaiming, "Look, Baby Jesus!"  She literally bounced from Nativity to Nativity pointing out Baby Jesus in each one."  It was holy ground -- a child's delight in the gift God sent from an overflowing heart of love for those He created.  Three-year-old Morgan may not be able to discuss the theological process of the Son of God leaving His Heavenly home, but she already knows and loves Baby Jesus.

I wonder if this is what Jesus was thinking of when He said, "Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."  If you're like me, the whole Christmas rush of buying, wrapping, baking, writing programs, helping with visuals, decorating, {deep breath} entertaining, taking pictures and creating cards, writing Christmas letters...whew...it all combines to cloud my joy.

As I looked again at the Son of God through the eyes of my granddaughter, I was filled with the joy of the season.  I followed Morgan around and listened to her exclaim over Jesus' bed, the blankies and not one time was she distracted with the lights on the tree, the candles, the gold beads or the angels.  She was focused on Jesus.

Even in the midst of  my duties, I am determined to stay focused on Jesus.  Focused on the gift the God of this world--my God--presented to a dark world.  On the gift delivered by a young Mary.  The one delivered in a stable, visited by shepherds, lauded by wise men.  The same gift offered to the world today.  Most of all, I want to cherish the joy.  I want to see the sparkle of falling snow, feel God's love as I choose Christmas gifts for those I love.  I want the words I write to swell with the joy I feel.  I want to host my friends with the same peace Mary showed to those who visited her newborn Son, and as I light the candles, I want to remember the Light who came to shine in the darkness.  

This joy--the joy offered to me by my little Morgan--will color my celebrations.  The Christmas programs will be more poignant, Pastor Clemens' sermons will be more meaningful, and as I sit and see the colors of Christmas dancing in the fireplace, I'll thank God for the child who led me and the Child who came to be my Savior.

Linked to:

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Kids Focusing on Jesus

Here's a few fun ways to focus on Jesus with your children.

Make Nativity cookies together, using this rolled cookie recipe for a fun change.

Read this book together: Grandma's Christmas Cookies. The book is out of print but you can order a used copy on Amazon.  This book is based on the birth of Jesus and includes four cookie cutters of an angel, star, camel, and sheep who are featured in the story.


Reenact the Christmas story using Playmobil's nativity scene or Nativity stickers

Listen to Cedarmont's Christmas Carols -- traditional Christmas Carols sung by children.

Color a free Nativity set using tp rolls.

Other fun free printables can be found at:

Bible Kids Fun Zone
Printable Christmas cards or thank yous.
Road to Bethlehem File Folder Game
Printable Christmas Puzzles

34 comments:

Jane said...

How absolutely wonderful Pamela! Imagine the world if we all had the faith of a child.

Aliene said...

Yes, the wonder of a little child!
I, too, want to stay focused on the real meaning of Christmas.
Have a blessed day.

Renee said...

What a delightful post. It takes me back to when our children were at home and I still find that same joy in our 40 yr old son's life. He loves this time of year.

Sherry said...

I love looking at things through the eyes of my young children. You get a more clear perspective. My 4 and 6 year olds have been asking lots of questions about God lately and I love it. As we were setting up our little nativity set, my 6 yr old Naomi asked who was God's wife? I said that He did not have a wife and then she wanted to know where Jesus came from then. haha. She knows the story of Mary, but now is really tuning in to the Son of GOD part. I love it.

Sylvia R said...

What a lesson from the little ones! Makes us ask, where is my focus? Reminds me of wee Granddaughter in a Christmas Eve service repeatedly crying out with delight when she saw representations of Him, "Baby Jesus! Baby Jesus!" The adults were rattled, but I'm sure God was delighted.

Sharon said...

Oh Pamela - this was beautiful. Out of the mouths of babes!

I became a believer when I was 3, and I can honestly say that I have known and loved Baby Jesus ever since. I've done some wandering, but never ever have I stopped loving my dear Savior!

I think the childlike little girl inside of me is the part that I like best. It's the part of my heart that looks at Jesus and just SMILES...

GOD BLESS!

Renee said...

Beautiful! I could use more of that childlike joy in my heart. Thanks so much for sharing this . . .

Shoregirl said...

I love this post! It has long been my desire to simplify Christmas, slow down, and enjoy Jesus at Christmas time. While I enjoy a certain measure of "hustle and bustle" at Christmas time - I sometimes long for quiet and peace. This year it's finally happening -- and I'm so enjoying our simplified Christmas season already!
BTW - Morgan reminds me of my own daughter --- from the time she was small she has loved the nativity scene and especially baby Jesus. I hope that never changes!

Hands to Work, Hearts to God said...

Yes, a wonderful reminder to stay focused on Jesus! It's always harder for me and my family because we have several gift shops. Ever since I can remember we have always been SUPER busy during this season as we have to make sure our stores are stocked so we can have good sales. Patsy from
HeARTworks

Musings by Robert said...

Finding Jesus brings such great joy. Your granddughter radiates with the Joy in discovering the nativity scene with the baby Jesus. May she find the real Jesus and perhaps she already has. Our son was three when he received Jesus.

Sarah (Nikki) said...

Kids really focus on the best things and remind us what's really important. touché little Morgan.

A multi-dimensional life said...

Sigh~ "it all combines to cloud my joy"...so true. I feel so tired at times during this season. I want to focus on Jesus just like Morgan and sit as His feet just like Mary and all the things you mentioned in your post as well...The joy and the peace that only He can give and the reason for the season. May you continue to enjoy every sparkling snowflake as you feel the love of God and the brilliance of His light!

Elizabeth Mahlou said...

Dropping in to wish you a blessed Advent!

Kathryn Ross said...

Joy to you, Pamela - and how important it is to NEVER lose our child! Perhaps that is why I take delight in all the wonders of the season - all the stories and childhood nostalgia - and my favorite thing - setting up the Nativity at home as a child. It was on the mantle very high and when I was finally tall enough to stand on the fireplace step and peek into the stable, I was transported! How God used that - and moments like that - when He drew me to Him in a born again relationship as an adult. A child, once more.

Joy to you!
Kathy

GLENDA CHILDERS said...

I love Christmas through the eyes of chidren. Merry Christmas, Pamela.

fondly,
Glenda

Rina Peru said...

Yes, yes, yes! I'd like to be a Morgan, too, or my little Tim! To celebrate Jesus like the child that He wants me to be! Yes, I refuse to get entangled with the busyness of the season. I just want to take hold of my gift - JESUS IS THE GIFT!

Ruth said...

Your analogy is so poignant! How I long to enjoy each moment of the season as you described; no overwhelming stressed out sleeplessness, but being able to stay in His cuddle even in the busyness.
Peace to you!

Lisa notes... said...

"It was holy ground -- a child's delight in the gift God sent from an overflowing heart of love for those He created."

What a precious moment you shared with Morgan. She already knows. I love it.

redemptionsbeauty said...

Kids, they have a wonderful way of bringing us to focus on what matters. Love the photo!

Dolly@ Soul Stops said...

What a joy-filled post...thank you for sharing :)

Laura said...

Oh, thank you, Pamela. This is so beautiful. My 12--soon to be 13--still loves to hide the Baby Jesus. We keep him hidden until Christmas morn and my boy delights in revealing Him to us, bringing Him into our Christmas celebration. It takes me closer to the manger every time. Like a child...yes, this is how I want to see Him.

journeytoepiphany said...

May we all look for the Christ child this advent season...

Charlotte said...

Beautiful. Oh that we all could see through the eyes of a child. Thank you for sharing.
Blessings,
Charlotte

Laurie Collett said...

Oh, Pamela, this is beautiful and heart-stirring. May we all have childlike faith and love, keeping our focus only on Jesus.

Musings by Robert said...

May we ever have our eyes on Jesus during this season and all the days ahead. Your granddaughter knows to find Jesus.

Ridlon Family said...

I have 4 children of my own, and I am continually amazed with their love for God, and their ability to have undefiled faith!

southernscraps said...

Thank you Pamela! What a refreshing reminder!

Shaunie @ Up the Sunbeam said...

Pamela, a beautiful moment you have described for us here, and I LOVE your selective color treatment of your pictures!! Gorgeous!!

Little Birdie Blessings said...

Pamela, Thanks for visiting my blog and for your kind comment. Much appreciated. This is a great post, and I love the way you did the photography. Thanks for sharing. ~ Abby

Laura @ Beholding Glory said...

How fun! To have joy like the little girl searching for Jesus-and thinking about what that looks like for us today. Thank you for sharing.

And thank you for linking up.

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for Grandparents and Caregivers said...

What a gift your sweet little one blessed you with. And what a lovely way to illustrated it.

It's always such a special gift from God when one of my grandkids comes to me with something about God that he is excited about. A hug from him AND from God. Thanks for the delightful encouragement and Advent devotional!

wolfsrosebud said...

the joy of coming to Jesus as a child

derry said...

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Heather said...

Beautiful! So nice to know that even the smallest of us can see through all the distractions a clear view of the Savior!

 
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