Old enough to be spiritual?

It always amazes me to catch sight of kids that I haven’t seen in a while; they’ve grown by leaps and bounds!

The long shadows of two girls on a beachOur Rotation this month is a story that kids can relate to – it’s about Jesus as a young boy.

The Bible tells us that at this time in his life Jesus grew strong and wise. (Luke 2:40)

And from the story we can also glean that Jesus was growing in other ways: he was exploring his calling; he was delving into his spiritual self.

 

Do we allow our kids the chance to grow spiritually?

Granted, Jesus was twelve years old in our story but even young children — preschoolers! — are spiritual.

Here are ways to encourage spiritual growth in all ages:

  • Surround your child with people who genuinely demonstrate God’s care for your child. Obviously this is present in your household, but having a church family is important as well.
  • Create a daily time of being intentionally still and seeking God in prayer. This may be best accomplished at bedtime.
  • Share joys and concerns around the family dinner table. (Or wherever your family is gathered together.) This serves as a reminder that God is listening to them and cares about them.
  • Keep a gratitude list. Or follow other ways of counting thankfuls.
  • Take them out into nature. Create opportunities to see and touch and hear the world around them that God has made.
  • Offer daily blessings as a way to reassure your child that God thinks highly of them.
What are ways that you expand your child’s spiritual awareness? Are they growing their spiritual side?

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Photo credits:
Tall shadows by thejbird, who licensed this photo on Flickr under a Creative Commons License.

What was Jesus thinking!?!

My two day-old son, freshly home from the hospital, was being laid down for a nap when my two and a half-year-old daughter surprised me. She insisted on singing to him the song we sang to her every night at bedtime – the first verse of the hymn Precious Lord — all by herself!

Has your child ever surprised you with something that you didn’t expect?

Sometimes things your child does will astonish other people. The Jewish teaching community likely experienced eye-opening amazement with a young boy named Jesus who joined their midst in the Temple courts during the Passover celebration. “Everyone was surprised and impressed that a 12-year-old boy could have such deep understanding and could answer questions with such wisdom” (Luke 2:47).

A public domain painting of Jesus amidst the 'doctors' in the Temple

That sort of thought didn’t percolate through Mary and Joseph’s minds, however. No, this event did not invoke a benign well-look-at-what-our-boy-is-doing sort of moment. Mary and Joseph had frantically searched for Jesus for three days. They couldn’t find him anywhere! Describe Mary and Joseph as anxious; worried sick. When they finally found Jesus in the Temple courts, can’t you hear Mary sputtering:

 
Jesus, what were you thinking!?

I’ll bet they are stunned by Jesus’ reply.

Why did Jesus stay behind at the Temple?

(a) He was almost a teenager. He wanted to irritate his parents.
(b) He got so wrapped up in his exciting surroundings that he totally lost track of time.
(c) Your reason here _______.

Mary and Joseph had been searching for Jesus. Meanwhile, Jesus was searching for something entirely different.

Jesus was searching for something that all of us look for!

Aren’t we all looking for an explanation for feelings we can’t explain…

  • What is this sacred reverence which hums within us, when we allow it to escape?
  • Why do certain situations (holding a newborn, catching a glimpse of beauty, the receipt of joyous news…) invoke feelings of deep respect, tinged with awe?
  • What is my purpose here on earth?
  • What can I do to promote peace, justice, love and compassion?

Do you suppose that Jesus found what he was looking for?

Have you?


Photo credits:
Jesus in the Temple a painting in the Public Domain by William Brassey Hole (1846-1917), via Wikimedia Commons.

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