We had a bit of debate going on yesterday at our Live nativity event at the church. We our favorite “petting zoo” people come and bring live animals to include in the production. There was one animal that got special treatment and got to ride up in the front of the truck – the pot-bellied pig. Therein lies the debate. Would a good Jewish boy be born in a stable where there was a pig? Well, we decided that since God had told Peter that all animals were “clean” (a vision Peter had, see Acts 10) this pig was now allowed to be included. Not historically culturally accurate, but certainly very inclusive and filled with grace – as Christmas should be.
It was another great family event at the church. From the Live Nativity to Christmas crafts to Santa and then a hayride to see the lights – just big fun and a great joyful celebration of Christmas.
It all reminded me of how important joy is for our children, and for us too, but really for our children. We talk about doing what God calls us to do and following Jesus and realizing that our life is most meaningful when we join God in what He’s doing, but at the very core of what life is meant to be is the joy God longs for us to know. Our kids may not know all the ins and outs of what it means to be a Christian or to “do church” properly, but they know what joy is. Kids know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. That’s one of our hopes for all the children in our church and all the children in our community – that they would know how much God loves them. That’s one reason we have Santa at our church – he helps promote God’s gift of joy (except for one little girl who became very teary-eyed and nervous when being taken to see the big man in the red suit!).
The word of the day is JOY – make certain the children around you experience JOY. Love them, include them, make them feel special, and when you do that they will know the true meaning of Christmas – God loves them.
I hope you know that for yourself. Holy High Christmas Five – Mike.