If your house is like mine on this the fourth day of the celebration of our Lord’s birth, you may be losing your mind. Maybe not exactly losing it, but it has been misplaced. Perhaps it was thrown away with the wrapping paper along with the assumed i-tunes gift card from Uncle Rick. Or maybe the dog ate it like she ate the gingerbread house when you had just settled down for your long winter’s nap.

Although these are probable, the real culprit is that the children have eaten enough candy to feed Australia and the batteries on the remote control tarantula have run out. The aforementioned dog is grateful for its terminal state, but the children have now gotten out the paints and she looks worried.

As a Baptist, Nazarene, closet Catholic I love that the church fathers thought to stretch Christmas Twelve days. One day to celebrate the birth of the Son of God seems a bit sparse. And I don’t know about your learning capabilities, but it takes me the full 12 days to even gain a grain of understanding that God, became a human. He put on his hip waders and stepped into humanity, a humanity where mothers and fathers are at their wits end. Here are a few suggests of ways we can follow his example, put on our waders, and wade into the lives of our children.

  • Don’t put the Nativity Scene away yet. No matter what other decorations we take down, the Nativity stays up until Epiphany on January 6th.  We’ve got the wise men scattered all over the house and they are making their epic journey to see the Son of God. (a little closer every day, and with a daily reminder that they crossed a desert, so the toilet is off limits.)
  • Make the space for Solitude. Create an altar, or a tent. Blanket tents are always cool. Mark it as a special place anyone can go to talk with God. Put a battery powered flashlight or lantern in it and a book of prayers. We especially love Psalms for Young Children by Marie Helen Delval.
  • Use a start cookie cutter and trace stars on the backs of the Christmas cards you received. Invite the kids to cut the stars out then glue them back to back. Punch a hole in the top and begin to transform your house from Christmas to Epiphany, where the Magi followed the star of light.
  • Take some of the stars to a local nursing home and spread a little light, and hugs.
  • Gather all your people together and talk about your plans to “grow” in the fruits of the spirit this year. (Galatians 5) Check out Valerie Hess’s book Habits of a Child’s Heart for a little guidance.
  • Give each child and adult an egg of silly putty. Reread Luke’s account of the birth of Jesus. Luke 2:1-20. Invite the Holy Spirit to show each person what he want them to see. Sculpt that thing. (You can do the same with Legos.)

Give these a try and let me know how they work or don’t. What kinds of things are you doing to wade into the lives of your children this 12 Days of Christmastide… (sing along with me)?

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