A guest post written by Anne Stearns Condon from Santa Barbara, California.
The celebration of the birth of the Christ child is a momentous event in all of history, and it appeals greatly to the childlike thought. The wonder of its happening, the simplicity of its setting, the humble surroundings of the manger, all of these factors capture the attention of children’s sweet innocence.
And a child is naturally drawn to a heroic figure. No one was more of a hero in his brief life on earth than Jesus Christ. He came into the world as the Son of God, and his great mission was to be the Savior, bringing to all, salvation from sin, sickness, and death.
In his day, children easily harmonized with Jesus because he loved them. They felt his tender care and were receptive to it. Infants and children were brought to him for blessing, and he healed them. He truly valued their worth, for he “called them unto him and said, Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of heaven” (Luke 18:16). He obviously knew them well, and in every generation, they also should have the privilege of knowing him.
Children love to learn. This is another reason why they’re a good fit with Jesus. He was the greatest of teachers. The Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5,6, and 7) contains some of his most famous teachings: the Beatitudes, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Golden Rule. And his two commandments sum up Moses’ ten: love God and love your neighbor as yourself.
As a little girl, I eagerly looked forward to hearing the Christmas story. I especially loved how the angel of the Lord told the shepherds that the Christ child had been born, and they came in haste to bring gifts to this unique child. I used to think about what gifts I would bring to such a special baby.
Attending a Christian Science Sunday School in my formative years, it was there that I learned about the gifts I could give in Christ’s name. In one Beatitude he said that those who were merciful would receive mercy and be blessed. He showed everyone how by his kindness to children, and when others wanted to send them away, he welcomed each one with open arms.
The Beatitude about being a peacemaker is important, because Jesus said the peacemakers shall be called the children of God. And that’s an excellent thing to be!
These early teachings reached my child’s heart, and I discovered that the best gift I could give to Jesus would be to follow him in all that he said and did. When living by his instructions, a feeling of quiet joy and unselfish love would come over me. This helped me understand that Christmas wasn’t about what I would get, but about what the Master gave to the world.
There are no greater gifts to give than to love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. This is the essence of Christmas to me and the highest honor that can be bestowed on the man called Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace, the Son of God.
Children who are taught these truths can bring great hope to a waiting world.
Article originally published in the Ventura County Star: Birth of Christ Brings Special Appeal to Child in All