When Your Kids Don’t ‘Get’ Advent

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‘Kids! It’s time!’ I sing-song from the living room and my voice dances through each room of the house, partnering with each child to carry and deposit them directly at my slippered feet.
They scramble and squeal into the room like a posse of greased pigs someone is chasing to market. ‘Guys. We are starting our Advent celebration tonight. Does anyone know what ‘advent’ means?’
A child indicates she knows and my heart near-bursts with pride. So young! She is really finally getting it this year.
‘Yes?’ I look at the others with raised eyebrows like ‘mmm hmm…listen to the smart one.’
‘Could I sit under the Christmas tree for this?’
‘Um. Sure.’ Before the first letter of the second syllable of that short sentence escaped my lips, all three were under the tree with elbows and hot breath just fighting for space.
I fixed my husband’s eyes with my own with some accusation about his children, and proceeded to give another short speech I never thought I would give about manners under a tree.
Reading aloud from Isaiah to the tune of soft giggling and tree branches being snapped, I come to a part that never fails to bring me tears:

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes-

My beautiful reading was cut off by a short, sharp (and surprisingly loud) blast of bodily gas from under the tree.
Sometimes gas is funny.
Sometimes it’s just not.
For the second time in as many minutes, I give another short speech I never thought I would give about farting during scripture reading.
We spoke sternly to the children. Did they understand who Jesus is? Did they know how important this was? That this is more important than life? That they could very well be responsible for the hole in the ozone? And why did they continue to eat so much candy in spite of all the dentist bills we had to work so hard for? WHY?
Recognizing the looks on their faces, I knew I needed to dial it back and not shred them to pieces with the Savior I was trying to honor.
We all took a deep breath and I finished the reading, dotting the moist corner of my eye with my shirt to catch a wayward tear born from beautiful words.
Sniffing, I ask, ‘Do you guys have any questions about what we just read?’
One raises her hand:
‘Is it morning time in Africa right now?’
‘Yes, it is.’
A pause and we try again:
‘Any other questions?’
‘What were the very first words that Jesus ever said? Like…the very first words.’
Not exactly in the ballpark but still part of the same sport…this is progress.
‘Probably ‘mama’, honey.’
We ended the night praying one by one and ended (true story) with a simultaneous ‘amen’ and another eruption from the same gassy child.
Sometimes?
Gas is funny.
On the unceremoniously, biologically mundane beginning of our advent celebration for this season, I am reminded of:
every other advent celebration we have ever had.
I thought it important to remember just a few things as we begin a season of celebration that will require every bit of the Grace that God freely gave to us.

*Find your kid. After you find your kid…find the kid you used to be. Remember how hard it was to sit still. Don’t forget how big the Bible is and how you had to cut your teeth on it and learn how to love and listen and apply. It takes years and years of spiritual maturity for kids to understand the magnitude, the reverence, the sacrifice…give them that time you were given. We can muck it up for them by pounding them over the head with our expectations (or even accidental shame) that they are not where we are. This doesn’t take away from instructing them on how to act: it should remind us to meet them where they are in order to make it more effective. Take it from me: your kids can love Jesus and still behave like gassy jackwagons.

*WWJD. Not just a ’90’s bracelet catch-phrase, I find thinking about what Jesus would do effective in two ways. First, what exactly would He do? Kids loved Him. Jesus would probably be playing ‘Got your nose’ or ‘Watch how I can take my thumb apart’ with the kids in the crowd before and after teaching them. Jesus knew where His silly pants were. In reverse? The second way I think about it? Sometimes it makes me laugh to think about Jesus behaving like me.
Can’t you see Him: pursing His lips sourly, snapping His fingers at children picking skin off their knees instead of listening and throwing out the stink eye. Jesus ending the lesson, sighing dramatically, ‘Why do I even bother with you people? (Thank You, Jesus, for not acting like me.)

*Give only as much grace as you receive. It just makes me crazy nuts when Jesus asks us to walk the talk. Nuts. John 1:16 says, ‘For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace…’ When I dig in hard to give this to my children, I am reminded of all the grace I am given for all the ways I climb under my own tree and jack around every day without grown-ups hissing at me and reminding me about every single goof up.
Deep breath…(now deeper): grace.

*Keep going. Did they see you with that Bible in your lap? Is your family together even in the idea of an effort to honor our Savior? Kids may not remember every single word you say…but they will never forget how they felt during all these years. Even when it’s messy (not if), don’t forget your effort right now is worth more than the result you want to see. We are sewing good seeds…we will see good fruit.
Happy celebrating, Friends.

 

Actual footage of Blair Advent Day 1:

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9 COMMENTS

  1. Melinda | 30th Nov 15

    Great job …enjoy your writings so much ..keep us posted on the” rest of the story.”

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 30th Nov 15

      You, sweet lady, you. We will keep you posted! Thank you for your sweet words today. Love you so much.

  2. Gina | 30th Nov 15

    Thank you so much! I needed this reminder today! ???

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 30th Nov 15

      You and me both, Girl! ha. But really…;) Thank you so much for reading.

  3. Brenda | 30th Nov 15

    Because most times gas is funny and I bet Jesus laughed when someone let one escape in His physical presence. It was God’s editing that probably saved John by called him the beloved instead of the Gaseous one… Just sayin’
    Love you Mama and your heart to point our mama hearts toward Jesus as we make disciples under our own roof!

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 30th Nov 15

      I got so tickled thinking about your response to this and almost voxed you some thoughts with our favorite hashtags. Love walking this gassy life with you, Mama.

  4. Shelly | 30th Nov 15

    So true when I think how “young” I am still in my walk and how much I didn’t know at 35 or 40 much less when I was their age…but I WANT them to know it all now!! Sidenote..now I keep picturing Jesus playing pull my finger. hahaha

    • melissablair09@gmail.com | 30th Nov 15

      Shelly, now I’m tickled picturing this! I know EXACTLY how you feel…I am telling on myself as a reminder in not holding them to adult standards (which I tend to do) :/ Thank you for reading, sweet friend. I hope I get to meet you when I come to CS this summer to our friend Holly.

  5. wynne | 4th Dec 15

    i love you. thank you for being REAL!

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