This quote struck me as significant as I sat through a production of "The Church Basement Ladies Christmas" a number of years ago.
If our churches and families operated with this mentality, we would be missing out on a HUGE opportunity to instill and model for our kids that Jesus is so worthy of our love and admiration....we don't keep Him and only admire Him in the manger. He must be admired and lovingly given His proper place in our lives.
Recently I walked in on a tender moment involving my three year old holding the Baby Jesus from our nativity scene. As she was holding him in her two little palms, she quietly bent down and kissed the baby so very tenderly. As she continued in her play I was struck by the fact that as parents and churches we are often guilty of putting Jesus in the nativity but never modeling what it looks like to tenderly hold the baby that we often put up on a shelf.
KidMin Pastors: don't miss the opportunity this week to dialogue with the parents in your ministry. Remind them of the importance of taking Jesus from the manger and living with a true devotion played out everyday in their real lives. Give them ways to begin discussions at home about how they can tenderly demonstrate our love for Jesus everyday. Our love for Jesus isn't done from afar, simply admiring a representation of our King.
Parents: is Jesus in the (figurative) palm of your hands now where you can offer to Him your love and admiration? Does He remain in the manger? I invite you this Christmas season to be committed to growing your own relationship with the One who is worthy of your admiration. Begin when kids are young and allow them the privilege of playing with nativity sets. Talk with them about each piece. Talk with them about your own love for Jesus.
Oh how I long for my kids to see that devotion in me. I want them to see that my love for Jesus is not simply symbolic. It doesn't reside in a manger on a daily basis. It began in a manger. My Jesus can't remain there as simply a symbol of all that is Christ like in my life. Do my words, thoughts, and deeds model that I am in love with Jesus? I pray that they do.
Parents and KidMin leaders, take the Baby out of the manger. Express to your children (or kids in your ministry) that Jesus is so much more than the baby in the manger.
What do you do at home/church to model for kids that your love for Jesus is an everyday, practical sort of love and not just a symbolic love for a ceramic baby in a manger?