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Monday, December 24, 2012

CHRISTMAS: A CHILD'S PERSPECTIVE






When I was about 9 years old, I remember being taught the passage of scripture in Matthew 8:20 – the one where the Savior says “the foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.”  That was the first scripture that made me sad – I felt sorry that Jesus had no place to lay his head.
Benjamin has that non-time-
 bound perspective.

A few days after I was introduced to that scripture, my mother came in to say goodnight to me, and found me hugging the far side of the bed, with an extra pillow on my bed.  “Why are you up against the wall?” she asked.   “I’m leaving room for Jesus,” I answered matter-of-factly.  “He doesn’t have anywhere to lay his head, so he can share my bed.”

Bless her heart, my mother didn’t say anything, she simply smiled and kissed me goodnight.  With the short attention span of childhood, my wall-hugging sleeping habits soon passed, but every time I come across that scripture, I smile.   And I bless my mom.

My mother allowed me to keep my simple, non-time bound perspective.  She probably chuckled about it with my father, but neither of them ever reproached me for thinking that the Savior of all mankind would deign to rest in a bed next to a 9-year old.  My faith was very simple; I knew that Jesus Christ loved me, and any loving person would respond positively to a heart-felt invitation.


Children are the best part of Christmas, and that is true in Tonga as well.  Christmas is different in a subsistence culture, but gifts are still shared.  One friend of mine remembers that as a child her mother would slice bread and butter it and send the children out to deliver platefuls to neighbors.  Often the family would give away all their food, but because their neighbors also shared, the family still had breakfast on Christmas morning.

Most Tongan homes are very humble.





Another friend remembers her father dragging her along to go caroling to the widows in the neighborhood.  She reluctantly sang at a few houses until one widow wept during “Silent Night”.  This little girl suddenly understood that she was giving a gift  - that the simple act of singing was a way to share.  Her attitude changed, and she happily made her way to the rest of the homes that Christmas morning. 


I think more at Christmas time than any other, I am reminded of the purity of a child’s perspective.  I need to make more heart-felt invitations, and be a more loving person and respond to others’ heart-felt invitations.  I need to remember the Tongatapu proverb, “Tonga’s only mountains are in our hearts,” and summit my own mountains by offering service more freely and showing gratitude for simple gifts.

2 comments:

  1. You've done it again, Bea - given us the reminder to look at the world through the eyes of a child! Please have a wonderful Christmas in the "warmth" of the S. Pacific! I'll throw a snowball or two for you here in Idaho! Love you always, Karen Peterson

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, Karen. Yes, throw a couple of snowballs for me - and I'll eat some shaved ice in your honor!

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