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Childlike Christmas

Just shy of four years ago, I became a mom to a spunky, blue-eyed, fair-skinned redhead girl who has taught me a lot about myself, my life, and my relationship with God. Whether it’s excitement over some free stickers at the dentist office, or a complete meltdown because I asked her to put the air wick plug in back into the wall, I’ve learned a ton. Most recently, though, she taught me about what it means to have the eyes of a child when it comes to my beautiful, awesome, and wonderful Catholic faith.

“Mom, LOOK!”

Gianna (or GMG as we like to call her) and I were driving down our street when she shouted out as if there was a house on fire or a deer on the road. I slammed my breaks to see what the 3-year old was super surprised by that caused such a scream. As I looked out my left window, I saw a house, one that we drive past every day (twice a day), decorated with Christmas lights on.

“Yeah, Gianna, that’s awesome,” I said slightly confused (and a little sarcastic) as I continued to head toward home.

As I was unloading the car, it hit me. Something that is apparently so mundane and so “normal” for me at this time of the year, she saw with such wonder and awe. Daily I drive by homes decorated with Christmas lights, or a tree in the window, and a random blown up Mickey Mouse with a Santa hat on, and while it’s cool, I don’t see it with fascination like GMG. As a small child, almost everything is new. What I’ve grown accustomed to, are the absolute coolest things for her to experience. She is discovering that “Why?” is not only a fun word, but also a challenge for me as a parent to reflect on “Why” things are the way they are … instead of simply taking them for granted as part of the life I’ve always known.

My guess is that the next few weeks are very full for you. Let’s be honest; we’re very calendar and to-do list driven people this time of year. And it’s not all bad! But while I’ve worked on slowing my pace and being more prayerful each time Advent rolls around, I somehow find it’s still easy to get caught in the rush of what has to get accomplished, instead of the wonder and awe that sits beside me daily.

So I ask you, what makes you stop in your tracks this Advent season? What makes your eyes light up? What takes you to a place where you sigh out of peace and joy and not exasperation or exhaustion? What can we see through child-like eyes of faith this season?

GMG excitedly told our pastor the other day that she liked how he had purple on just like she did. Do we see the purple in our Church as just another season of Advent, or as the most beautiful color ever around? (I can’t wait until she gets to the third week of Advent for the sake of her obsession with the color pink!)

She also asked my husband a few weeks ago if he has a soul. (I’m sorry, WHAT?!) Do we still ask questions about our lives and our faith in deeper ways?

I’ve heard a priest tell a story about a five-year-old boy who asked him how he could take the nails out of Jesus’ hands one day. Now, I honestly cannot look at a crucifix the same way without observing the nails. Kids see things that we sometimes take for granted because we’ve seen them too many times in our lives.

As we anticipate and prepare for the coming of our Savior again, I am grateful for the reminder that there is such an awesome world created by our God surrounding us. Gianna has helped me with that reminder. Even on the days where she is crabby and not so joyful, I still love seeing her eyes light up. And, believe it or not, on the days where we, too, are crabby and forget to see His beautiful creation, our Heavenly Father still adores us.

So this Advent and Christmas, I pray that if you’re anything like me, you’re able to find what is usually taken for granted and seek to view it as a child would. If you need to borrow a toddler, I happen to have a couple who don’t like sleep as much as their parents!

And next time Gianna is singing the most tone deaf versions of “We Wish you a Merry Christmas” and “The Virgin Mary had a Baby Boy”, I’ll be smiling at the beauty of her faith and praying for all of you.

Happy Advent & Merry Christmas!

 

Image via FlickrCC 2.0 Logo added

About the Author

Katie Gray

Katie Gray serves as Life Teen's Central Region Director. She spent six years leading Life Teen and Edge at a parish in St. Louis and adores a good dance party with her husband and daughters. Her goals each week include getting closer to Heaven, eating chocolate candy without nuts, and spending less than $100 at Target. You can follow her crazy blessed life at LT_katieG.