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Preparing Little Hearts

“Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Mark 10:15 NIV)

It’s often said that one of the best parts about raising kids is getting to see the world through the eyes of children to whom everything is new. My son is so excited about learning words that he hears and sees a lot of things I don’t notice. For example, he will often point out an airplane high up in the sky, or perk up when he hears the jet noise and say “airpane!” He will say it until I figure out what he’s talking about. When I stop and listen, then I notice it, too.

The Christmas story is so familiar to us that we sometimes don’t even hear it when it’s being read. Many of us can quote most of Luke 2 from having watched A Charlie Brown Christmas. Do we stop long enough anymore to remember how extraordinary this story is? A virgin with child! The son of God born in a stable. Hosts of angels appearing to the outcast laborers of the time. This is the craziest, most wonderful story ever told, and it’s even true!

At this point, my son is more enthralled by the camels in the nativity scene than Mary and Joseph. Since the only baby he knows is our friend’s daughter Josie, the centerpiece of the nativity is referred to as “Baby Chosie.” But someday he’ll want to know why there’s a baby in a barn, and why this is the only barn “playset” he has with camels and an angel, and he’ll ask me for an explanation.

In Mark 10:15, I think Jesus is referring to the pure faith that a child has in his parents. When my son gets an “owie” or a “boo-boo,” however slight, he will come running into the room where I am and say, “Mommy kiss it!” I will kiss his finger or his elbow or whatever, and then he will happily run back to where he was playing. He believes me when I say that Mommy’s kiss makes it all better. (Do we believe God when he says, “Cast all your cares upon me”? See 1 Peter 5:7.)

God uses the new eyes of children to open our eyes. They notice things we don’t, ask questions we wouldn’t, and they believe us when we answer. That’s a lot of power to wield. Am I using it for good? Am I paying attention to his questions and making sure I give thoughtful answers? If I am, I might learn a thing or two myself. While we adults are preparing little hearts for Christmas, they can help us prepare our hearts, too.

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