When Children Play…

Childrens-Church1Reading and watching the recent world events would make anyone sad and troubled.  Mass shootings, earthquakes, violent protests among many other negative occurrences, are enough to cause worry and dread.  I watched television pundits yell at each other today over gun laws, read opinion pieces on terrorism, and finally had enough of the ranting and raving and turned it all off.  Seems like the only safe and happy channel to watch right now is the Hallmark Channel and its sappy, Christmas love movies.

Then this evening, looking out my study window, I watched my two kids playing outside.  They were playing with children much younger than themselves, and one with special needs.  Games of tag, hiding behind mailboxes, riding scooters on the sidewalk, and looking at our neighbors’ Christmas lights, all gave me a grateful look inside their world; a place I haven’t been to in years.  There was no yelling, no fighting, no judging, no bullying, and no trying to look cool or fit in…just being kids who wanted to play.

As a kid our childhood was full of imaginative games.  Christmas time was especially exciting with school parties and knowing that family would be coming to visit along with the big man Santa.    We didn’t have to think about a mortgage, a car payment, renewing insurance,  and work deadlines.  The words “job security” and “terrorism” were completely unknown to us.  We were encapsulated in a safe, protected bubble of peace and assurance.

The world they live in is full of danger, but they don’t see it.  They only talk of promise and potential.  Concerns that we face are ours alone.  We shoulder the burden of worry while they plot their Christmas wish list.

Jesus spoke about children.  In Matthew 18:2-4 It reads, “Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said “”Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives on little child like this in My name receives Me.””

Meek, humble, playful and ready to serve were the qualities Jesus referred to.  In our society, the rich, powerful, and most likely to grace the cover of a magazine, are the ones who seem to receive all the glory.  But Jesus came and called out the changes to the world system as He saw they should be.

Cherish the play time and “embrace the inner child” as some would say.  The laundry can wait, and the mopping of the floor could be done another day.  Your children will only be with your family for a short time.  Their lessons of youth are a welcome comfort for all of us.

 

Feeling Sorry for Thanksgiving

Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpg
Rockwell, Thanksgiving.jpg

I really feel sorry for Thanksgiving.  Once Halloween has come and gone, there is a short amount of time before Thanksgiving arrives.  A couple of weeks of grocery store sales on turkeys and trimmings is all you might really notice about the holiday.  People may speak about where they’re going to spend the day, but before it even arrives, it’s overshadowed by the approaching Christmas season.

Thanksgiving is almost like the middle child.  It deserves more attention for all the good that it represents, but the beautiful, more attractive Christmas season casts a shadow over this short holiday. Black Friday sale announcements start earlier every year, and more department stores are opening their doors on Thanksgiving Day.  What a tragedy that retail profit is trumping family time!  But the hurriedness and excitement of it all seems to just shrug it shoulders at Thanksgiving.

I once went to Target on Thanksgiving night with my husband.  We thought we were really going to grab some great deals.  Problem ended up being that we were grabbed; physically.  Do you really want to know what kind of people show up on Thanksgiving night at some of these stores?  Our experience has taught us that they’re not very nice people!

In between picking up scooters and DVDs,  I tried to pick out a pair of women’s boots when I was pushed aside.  My hair became tangled in some lady’s ( I used the term “lady” loosely) button down jacket, and out of the mass crowd of barbarian shoppers, I saw my husband waving his arms at me.  He was signaling that it was time to evacuate.  We walked out with a few items and more of a headache.  People were shouting at employees for items that had sold out, and let’s just say we would have been better off being at home with family; warm and cozy with a piece of leftover dessert.

Now I have to admit before going further, I love Christmas!  It’s my favorite holiday as it seems to be for a lot of people.  I love our family decorating the tree, baking goodies, Christmas parties, gift exchanging…singing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus…the list goes on.  It’s a cheerful holiday.  But what about Thanksgiving?

If you really look at the story behind Thanksgiving, it’s one of danger, uncertainty, faith and survival; much like the times we’re living in I would say.  It’s more than just coming together to remember what the Pilgrims did, and passing the gravy.  It really becomes more than that.  We pause with family and friends and take the time to be grateful and thankful.  The only gifts involved with Thanksgiving are those of hospitality, sharing, gratitude, and reflecting on all we have to be thankful.

I remember as a child our family taking the time to talk around our dinner.  Each person had fond stories to share of past holidays, and special recollections of family members that had passed on.  “Remember Me-Me’s dressing?  Hers was the best” coupled with “I miss Granny’s smoked turkey,” and the sayings would continue.  Our family would discuss current events, while the older generation would reminisce about how good life used to be.  No one would have cell phones out and the television was off.  The only thing we would turn the television on for was the Dallas Cowboys game (this was before my Houston Texans came on the scene).  Games like trivial pursuit and UNO were pulled out, and no one thought of going out on Thanksgiving night except to watch a movie or take a walk.

So enjoy this holiday.  It’s a quick but an important one.  Take the time to be thankful, put down the cell phone, and converse with family and friends.  Forget about shopping on Thanksgiving night.  Those sales will come and go, but your family won’t always be together.  Pass the gravy, enjoy the laughter, and DVR those Cowboys!

Happy Thanksgiving…