Another Christmas has come and gone because as Brooklyn reminded us on Thursday, “last Christmas was yesterday.” But now that Christmas 2013 is in the books it seems like a time of reflection is in order.
Do you remember a movie from 2006 titled Children of Men? It’s set in 2027 where women have somehow become infertile except for one miraculously pregnant woman. In the movie Clive Owen’s character agrees to smuggle her out of England to a sanctuary at sea. The movie is dark and depressing because humanity has lost all hope because there are no children. That is why the woman needs to be saved because the child in her womb is the symbol of hope for the human race.
Sounds a lot like that first Christmas. A miraculously pregnant woman gives birth to a child in a dark and cruel world and that child brings hope for us all.
That’s one of the most amazing aspects of Christmas is that Jesus entered the world as a baby. He did not come to earth as a fully grown adult but rather came into it as a baby. The advent of our Lord reminds us that hope often weighs 7 lbs. 9 oz. and is 20 inches long.
It’s the baby in the manger that brings hope, peace on earth and goodwill to all.
That got me thinking about how we have little packages of hope in our homes and the awesome responsibility we have to raise our children well. We are the people who are influencing and molding those who will run the future. As the old saying goes, “the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”
Scared yet? You should be.
I think that sometimes we don’t fully understand the enormous responsibility we have, and perhaps that is a mercy we receive, but the baby in the manger got me thinking about the responsibility we have to our kids this week.
We have to teach our kids how to trust, we have to teach them how to love, how to be kind, how to have compassion, how make the most of the opportunities they are given. We have to teach them that heavenly things matter more than earthly things. We have to teach them that people matter more than stuff does. We have to teach these things to our kids by showing them to our kids. Our lives have to model the things we say are important.
How else will they succeed if we don’t show them how? So then the question becomes how do we define success?
Robert Louis Stevenson wrote one of the best definitions of success I have ever read. His thoughts have had a great impact on me since I first read them many years ago.
That Man is a Success Who has lived well, laughed often and loved much;
Who has gained the respect of intelligent men and the love of children;
Who has filled his niche and accomplished his task;
Who leaves the world better than he found it;
Whether by improved poppy, a perfect poem, or a rescued soul;
Who never lacked appreciation of earth’s beauty or failed to express it;
Who looked for the best in others and gave the best he had.