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 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.

* * * * *

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