What Does Jesus Get for Christmas?

1 12 2010

Today I was reminded of the most important part of Christmas. It’s gifts. I know this may sound strange as most of us try and downplay the “getting” part of Christmas and emphasize Jesus’ birth. But hear me out. I am not talking about the kinds of gifts that can be wrapped up and put under the tree. I am talking about the intangeble. Here is where this thought stemmed from. This was the conversation I had with a preschooler of mine this morning:

Lucas: “So, if Christmas is Jesus’ birthday, then why doesn’t he get any presents?”

Me: “He does, Lucas, he gets the best present of all! He gets you!”

Lucas: “Well, how can he get me?? I can’t fit in a box!”

This led into a great converstation about how when we love and serve Jesus, we give him our hearts and our love and that is the best present that Jesus could ask for. In fact, it’s the only present that Jesus’ asks for. Through the innocence of a child’s question, I was rememinded that despite the business of Christmas, I needed to focus on the gifts that I could give Jesus. Our hearts are full of many gifts that we can give: Love, Generosity, Kindness, Peace, Joy, Patience, the list goes on and on. (Galatians 5:22-25) Scripture says, that when we give to others, we are giving to Christ himself. (Matt 25:40)

I taught the kids a poem today, that was written in 1872 that describes this idea of what we can bring to Jesus. The last line of In the Bleak Midwinter, by Christina Rosseti, reads like this:

What can I give him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring a lamb,
If I were a wiseman
I would do my part,
Yet what can I give him,
Give my heart.

This Christmas season, I pray that you too will set aside the business and hustle and bustle and remember the real meaning and purpose of Christmas. To give gifts to the King of King and Lord of Lords who came as a humble Baby to save the world. Take time to refelct on the gifts that lie within your heart that you can give Christ by giving to others this year.

Be blessed, and Merry Christmas!


I’m Now

8 03 2010

I wish that I could say that this was my idea. That I could claim the brilliance behind the thought. But I can’t. I can say though that I borrowed the idea from a good friend inspired by the Holy Spirit to engage the vision of others with the message that children are important, NOW. For so long we have heard that children are the future…there have been songs written about it, there have been talks and messages spoken on this thought. But I would say that this could not be farther from the truth. Our children are the children of RIGHT NOW, their needs, dreams and fears are real, right now.

I am reminded and moved by one story that I came across recently. A boy from my church, no older than 9, recently led one of his friends to Jesus. He called the boy aside in the bathroom at school, and led this little Buddhist boy to Jesus. Our children have the potential to be powerful. The kingdom of God was changed that day…because a child took the time to see a friend who needed Jesus and do something about it.

Some of us may think this story is cute…how sweet that a little boy did that. But, when was the last time you shared your faith with a friend? Jesus used a little boy to change eternity. If he can use a 9 year old, he certainly can use you. It reminds me of the story in the Bible about the little boy who came to Jesus with just 5 loaves and 2 fish (John 6). That young boys lunch that day fed thousands. But what if that little boy hadn’t spoken up, what if he had remained silent and ate what he had and kept it to himself? What if Andrew had never spoken up and brought the young boy to Jesus? Here I think that while what the boy gave was amazing, Andrew is the crux of the story. If it weren’t for Andrew speaking on behalf of the child, 5,000 people’s lives would not have been changed that day. Children need an avenue to be led to the feet of Jesus. Andrew was the avenue for this boy. Andrew embodied the idea of stopping at the lemonade stand by taking time to listen to a child.

Jesus used 9 year olds when he was here on earth, and he still is using them TODAY. Sure, he has great plans for their future, but he also has great plans for their right now. So, what’s my plea? What’s my purpose for writing this post? Here’s my challenge to you:

Our children are telling us, “I’m Now”. How will you answer the call? How will you make a difference in the life of a child? What will you do differently with the mindset that our children are the children of NOW and not just the adults future? How can you be like Andrew and lead children to the feet of Jesus so that their lives can be changed, and in turn change lives?

Through A Child’s Eyes

8 05 2009

Why is it that a world looks so different through the eyes of a child? Simple things that we miss because we are too busy to notice or care are the focus of a child’s attention for longer than we could imagine. Today I took a walk with a 2 year old. I always like walking with children because I see things that I never would have noticed otherwise. Today is was the simple wonder of  “flowers” and “big water”. I watched as a wide eyed little boy stopped at every dandy lion puff he spotted and picked it and watched as the seeds floated away. Time after time, and he never got tired of blowing them and watching them float away. I listened and tried to hear the sounds that were ringing in his ears, the sound of several different birds, a dog barking in the distance and the feel of the wind blowing on his face. He didn’t miss a beat. He soaked in every moment from beginning to end.  To me, the walk may have just been another day outside down the same old path, but to this little boy it was adventure and excitement around every corner. I want my life to be more like this little boy, who found wonder and excitement in what we adults might find boring and mundane. I want to live my life looking for adventure and excitement around every corner, I want to take time to slow down and enjoy the “flowers” and the “big water”. In looking through the eyes of a two year old, I saw what my life was missing and how I can find it once again. I pray that you, too, can find wonder and excitement in life, even when it seems to get boring and mundane. I also hope that you stop when you have a chance, and look through the eyes of a child, for you just might find something that your life is missing.

a wise man once said…

23 10 2008

I believe that one of the wisest men of our generation was a man who wore zip up sweaters and tennis shoes. A man who graced my television set when I was a child and posed the question, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”. Fred Rogers (1928-2003) was a man who dedicated himself to the future generation. A man who modeled how to stop at every lemonade stand. This blog is dedicated to him and to the profound quotes that we should never forget and that will always be relevant.

“Please think of the children first. If you ever have anything to do with their entertainment, their food, their toys, their custody, their day or night care, their health care, their education-listen to the children, learn about them, learn from them. Think of the children first.”

-Fred Rogers (Perhaps better known to children as Mr. Rogers)

Soccer Season!

2 10 2008

It’s that time of year once again where moms are driving the minivans from one game to another and kids are tracking their muddy cleats all over the house. Soccer season proves to be a grueling one for moms and dads and an exciting one for kids. As for me, personally, I love this season when all the fall sports begin. I don’t have children, so I don’t have the task of playing taxi, and trying to get kids up and dressed for a game, but I do have the privilege of getting to go the the games and cheer kids on. At this time of year, its too cold to sell lemonade, but that doesn’t mean we can’t put it into practice. As fall sets in, stopping at every lemonade stand means dedicating your Saturdays to make it to as many games as possible. Supporting our kids in anything they do is so important! Yes, it may be cold, but that is why Starbucks invented the amazing Pumpkin Spice Latte! So far, I have made it to a few volleyball games, but this Saturday my goal (no pun intended) is to make it to a few soccer games as well as a few more YMCA volleyball games! I am looking forward to watching the kids that I see on Sundays at church, or babysit during the week do something that they enjoy and love! It will be fun, despite the rain that is forecasted, to support the children in my community and do the fall version of stopping at every lemonade stand! Let’s all work together to keep our children in the forefront of our minds and we walk down this path of life, for they are our future!

lemonade at the lake

3 09 2008

As I rolled over this morning to turn off my alarm and get up, my head started throbbing and my muscles reminded me of the strain from the previous day. This weekend, my family gathered with my extended family at our families lake cabin. We had such a wonderful time together. I realized that I am so blessed to have such a wonderful family. This weekend though, the essence of stopping at every lemonade stand brought a new meaning for me. This year, my oldest cousin brought her two children. The last time I saw her kids, two years ago, they were two and five…the youngest too young to remember me this year. Drew (the now four year old) didn’t know who I was, and probably still really wouldn’t had I not taken the time to get to know him. It started on Saturday night as I interrupted all the younger boy cousins who were boxing. I joined in and let them even beat me up a little bit. However, from that moment on, I was the cool one to be with. In fact, for most of the weekend, Drew could be found atop my shoulders. And all of a sudden, I was the one who he came to when he needed help tying his shoes and the one who got the biggest hug goodbye on Sunday when it came time to leave. In order to ‘stop at every lemonade stand’ we can’t just expect children to walk into our lives, we have to walk into theirs. When we approach children and enter their world, they know that they are welcome to approach us, and enter ours.

Back to the reason that my body is so sore. Growing up at the lake, as kids, we spent every summer living in the water, and once we got a boat, we practically lived behind the boat tubing every chance we can get. As our bodies get older, somehow the same water we have swam in every summer gets colder, and our bodies recover slower from a day behind the boat. However, my cousin Hannah, 12, wanted to go tubing with me. I did say no at first, but got some crap from cousins and family members, and so, I went, reluctantly to say the least. While it was not the best tube ride that I have ever had, I have no regrets that I went and am glad that I was talked into going. Not because of the ride, but because I was able to make a memory with my cousin. (That and it did force me to get into the water, which I wouldn’t have probably done otherwise). Through this I realized that going into a child’s world is not about us and what we want. It is about the child and what makes a lasting memory in their life. While tubing was not something that I originally wanted to do, I did it for my cousin, and in the long run, not only made a memory for her, but had a good time doing it.

So, as I woke up, sore and longing for a hot shower, I had no regrets, knowing that this weekend I made a difference in the life of a child. Be encouraged, my friends, and don’t forget to stop at a lemonade stand and enter a child’s life right where they are at.

Stopping At Every Lemonade Stand

24 05 2008

Stopping At Every Lemonade Stand…a book that truly changed my life. This book, written by James Vollbracht will revolutionize the way that you view this nations most prized possession. Oil? Our natural resources? No, our children, our future. This blog is dedicated to our future, to our children who deserve our love and attention and who need to feel wanted and loved. For I have devoted my life as I hope to challenge you, to stop at every lemonade stand.