One evening my wife and I received instant messages on our phones. The first was a short video from our son of our granddaughter Aubry holding his guitar and strumming with her right hand–while he formed the chords on the neck of the guitar with his left hand. She was so proud and intent. The second message was a picture of our daughter of our newborn grandson Cleo–doing what he does best–napping contently. That night I felt extremely blessed and my soul was smiling. There’s nothing quite like the innocence, curiosity and contentment of little ones–except puppies and kittens perhaps. Little ones can bring out our best, most-nurturing and caring selves. Their existence is a message of hope and promise–a reason to pause and ponder, a reminder to be grateful.
So it is the Christian year begins with Advent–waiting, hoping, preparing to see the face of a baby, a child meant to change us so we can work with God to transform the world. This Sunday at Grace we’ll pause and ponder the story of that baby. We’ll remember his name is Jesus. We’ll glimpse his face in the faces of the children who tell his story to us: through the prepared script and the unexpected moments that always happen with children. Watching the children’s Christmas program is a way to remember we are extremely blessed. It’s a reason for our souls to smile. It’s also a chance for God to whisper renewed life into our “best selves.” If we allow it, it will remind us of the high and holy tasks we are called to–nurturing, healing, encouraging and blessing.
According to the angel who visited Joseph in a dream long, long ago, it is in the spirit of offering our best selves to those around us that we discover Emmanuel, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23). Today, make time to pause and ponder the baby Jesus. Try to see his face in any who may need nurture and care, whatever their age, as all a children of God.