Children reveal values at Christmas

Children reveal true values at Christmas.

Want to know what is truly important to children? Ask them what their favorite part of Christmas was. After worship yesterday, I did just that. And, boy, was I in for a shocker!

I guess the cynic in me was expecting answers about the gifts they received – maybe the huber popular Furby Boom or the even less warm and fuzzy Teksta Robotic puppy. And to be perfectly frank, when I was a kid, if someone were to ask me what my favorite part of Christmas was, I’d probably run down the list of all the things I got, too, like a table top hockey game, or a way cool flying helicopter, or a set of walkie talkies. Really, anything that required batteries made for a perfect Christmas in my books.

Yesterday, however, the children I polled after worship gave me answers wonderfully unexpected:

The first person I spoke with was a pleasant preteen. “What was your favorite thing about Christmas?” I inquired. Without so much as a pause or hesitation to consider who she was speaking with (answers constructed simply to keep the preacher happy are not allowed) she smiled and said, “Spending time with my family.” Immediately, I joined her with a smile of my own. I’m almost positive that “time with family” couldn’t be found anywhere on this past Christmas.

I had to see if her response was a fluke, though, so while talking to some of our other young people, I casually asked the same question. Again, their responses were delightfully unanticipated:

One young man told me, right in front of his sister no less, that his favorite part of Christmas was playing in the woods behind his house . . . with his sister. Yeesh! Playing with your sister? What’s the world coming to? And get this, she agreed! Playing with her brother in the woods was the most special part of her Christmas, too.

“What?” I mused silently to myself with incredulity. “Siblings not only having fun with each other, but ranking it as their favorite part of Christmas.” I couldn’t help but laugh with joy. Outwardly, I congratulated these young people on their good and right answers, but inwardly I cheered the way I did as a kid when little Charlie, in the face of injustice, returned his Everlasting Gobstopper to Willie Wonka.

No matter how hard the adult world tried to impose the consumerist myth this Christmas with the lure of its dazzling techno gadgets or even its Everlasting Gobstoppers, these church kids struck back with a blow for real Christmas joy and for some of some of the most important and lasting values ever: family, free play, outdoor fun. And in the process they reminded this half-centurion that some of the best things in life don’t need batteries at all.

Peace and Love,
R. Mark Giuliano
The Old Stone Church

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