Christmas – A Season for Children
By Ken K. Gourdin
This season is for children—the young, and the young at heart. Whatever fervently-hoped-for miracles are earnestly sought and prayed for, whether such miracles are granted or, in God’s wisdom and for His own purposes, are withheld for a season (or even for the whole of mortality), this is also a season of miracles.
This is the season in which stories are told, in print or on the air, in legends, in fiction, or in true-life accounts, of how children, in particular, hoped for miracles and saw their child-like faith rewarded with the hoped-for result. Indeed, while Christ, the man-God, walked the earth and rewarded the faith of his followers with various hoped-for, prayed-for, miraculous results, the Christ-child was, himself, a miracle.
One of the favorite songs I learned in Primary, the organization for children aged three to twelve years in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, imagines the Savior’s childhood and entreats children to strive to follow His matchless example. See here, last accessed today – https://www.lds.org/music/library/childrens-songbook/jesus-once-was-a-little-child?lang=eng:
Jesus once was a little child, a little child like me;
And he was pure, and meek, and mild, as a little child should be.
And he played, as little children play, the pleasant games of youth.
But he never got vexed when the game went wrong, and he always told the truth.
So, little children, let’s, you and I, try to be like him: try, try, try!
I love the account of Jesus ministering to the Nephite children in the Book of Mormon in 3 Nephi 17:23-24 (see here, last accessed today): https://www.lds.org/scriptures/bofm/3-ne/17.23?lang=eng)
23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and encircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them.
In counseling us to strive to emulate the Savior, Elder Jeffrey R. Holland of the Quorum of the Twelve of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “We could remember that Jesus found special joy and happiness in children and said all of us should be more like them—guileless and pure, quick to laugh and to love and to forgive, slow to remember any offense.” (See Jeffrey R. Holland (October 1995), “This Do In Remembrance of Me,” Ensign, accessed on line at the following address (last accessed today): https://www.lds.org/general-conference/1995/10/this-do-in-remembrance-of-me?lang=eng.)
Perhaps this is easy for me to do because I have no children of my own (else I would be more anxious that they behave properly), but I do take special delight in the guilelessness and purity of children, in their ability to laugh, to love, and to forgive.
The Savior was never too busy for children, as the account of his response to those who rebuked others for bringing children to Him in Matthew 19:13-14, shows: “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
Not only did the Savior go out of His way to make make special time for children, He reserved some of his harshest condemnation for those who would harm them. Luke 17:1-2 records:
1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
May we be more patient, kind, and loving to children this time of year (to children, young and old). May we rejoice with them – whether they be our own children or merely children of our acquaintance – in the miracles and magic of this special season.