Christmas Eve Service with a 1st Grader…

christmas-charlie brown

I returned from Christmas Eve service at my church couple hours ago.  I had the joy of sitting next to a first grader… She’s just an adorable little girl with a sense of humor that has me laughing non-stop!!!  She also has some spunk and sarcasm in her, which I just love!!!  I just had to write all this down so I don’t forget my awesome night of sitting next to her.

She pretty much had a running commentary whispered in my left ear throughout the whole service!  As soon as the music began with four percussion instruments, she held her ears tight and yelled “Pastor Gloria, this is louder than I had ever expected!  I feel like my heart is going to come out of my chest!”  Seriously, how could you not love a 6-year old who says stuff like this?

Then we had three monologues from the perspective of a wiseman, a shepherd, and Mary.  In the middle of the shepherd’s monologue, she turns to me and whispers “you know, he’s not really a shepherd… he’s just fake acting!”  Once again, a huge smile on my face… And every time the characters cracked a joke, she would cover her mouth as if she’s trying to hold in her laughter.  At one point, she couldn’t see what was happening on stage so she hopped onto my lap…. and once again she whispered in my ear, “you know Pastor Gloria, it really bothers me that my sister has her feet on my chair.  Hmmm…”  This kid just cracks me up!!!

She sang all the Christmas carols with us… She even danced and held up her hands as we sang to and about Baby Jesus, our King!  We ended the night with “O Come All Ye Faithful” and “Silent Night.”  When we started singing “O Come Let Us Adore Him” multiple times in a cappella, I started to tear as we went into “Silent Night.”  She was standing on the chair next to me, and I don’t know if she could see me… but she gave me a bear hug, put her face right up to mine and once again whispered “I like this song… It sounds familiar to me.”  Once again, my face broke out in a huge smile.

I’m reminded how special it is for kids to worship with adults!  I would have missed out on this precious moment with this first grader had I sat next to another adult.  To see worship through the eyes of a child… It was so special to me!  She also got to experience how adults worship… she saw her mom raising her hands in reverence as she sang.  She got to see people in love with Jesus… and worshipping our King!  What a special night it was… The message was special… but for me, worshipping with a 1st grader and seeing worship through her eyes and her thoughts made it even more special!  I definitely have more thoughts about this… but for now, I just wanted to share my special night before I forget!  I say this all the time… but seriously, KIDS ARE AWESOME!!!

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uhm…but I don’t think she’s a Christian…

me:  who’s your favorite singer?

B (6th grader):  uhm… well…. (squirmish…)

me:  you don’t wanna tell me?

B:  well, but I don’t think she’s a Christian…

me: it’s okay… 

B:  i like Adele… but i don’t think she’s a Christian because i think she curses…

me:  oh, I like Adele too!

B:  really?  oh… okay.. i really like her… (with excitement!)

 

Hahahaha.. hilarious how kids think they can’t listen to or like non-christian singers/songs… i listen to plenty of those!

the words that make me smile super big!

“R U ready for this?  C is always talking about her Bday in October, and she said your name as the FIRST person on the list!  She used to look for you at every church we went to.” 

-text from a parent of almost 3-year old from my old church

————

A:  Pssst… I have something to tell you!

Me:  What is it?

A:  You’re the funnest auntie! (whispers)

Me:  But why are you whispering?

A:  It’s a secret…

Me:  It doesn’t have to be a secret (jokingly)

A:  It does because I don’t want to hurt other aunties’ feelings…

Me:  Okay, it’s our little secret!  😀

(can’t tell you who because it’s a secret! Initials changed to protect our confidentiality agreement!)

Seriously, kids are AWESOME… and always bring me super big smile!!! 

I Swallowed Jesus

It was Sunday lunch time in 1997.  I sat around with the volunteer teachers, talking about how our Sunday school classes went.  A 4-year old boy ran up to his mom, who was sitting with us… He was a super cute boy with a froggy-voice.  I asked him if he had swallowed a frog.  He said, “no… but I swallowed Jesus.”  Eh????  His mom went on to explain that her son kept saying that He swallowed Jesus, and that’s how Jesus got into his heart.  We all laughed because it was so cute!

Fast forward to 2011.  I visited my friend’s church few weeks ago.  The parents of preschoolers were conversing about their children’s versions of how Jesus got inside their hearts.  They were cute stories… they varied from how a little girl felt that there was no room for Jesus inside her when she saw the body chart at her doctor’s office to how a little boy was scared to throw up Jesus when he got sick.  We all laughed at how kids viewed “Jesus in my heart.” Yes, they take all this very literally, and we think it’s cute.

I’ve actually been thinking about this for few weeks now… and I have a very unsettling feeling in the pit of my stomach.  Whether it was in 1997 or it was two weeks ago, I feel like we have failed to give these kids correct information.  We use “Christianese” so much in the church that we assume everyone understands these expressions… of course when you say “do you have Jesus in your heart” to an adult, they wouldn’t assume that you’d have to swallow Jesus or that Jesus physically resides inside their body cavity.  But when you say this expression to a child, a preschool kid… their curiosity has them thinking wild thoughts!  Well, they’re wild to us adults… but it has to somehow make sense that Jesus can get inside their little bodies…

I believe our responsibility as kidmin leaders (and also for parents) isn’t to teach the truths through Christianese, but to help kids understand what it means to love, trust, and follow Jesus.  Often times, we’re so concerned with helping kids “accept Christ into their hearts” that we forget that it’s a process for them as well… We want “on this day, so and so has accepted Jesus” moment after a child says “yes.”  But honestly, a lot of kids will raise their hands during an altar call or when you ask “so who wants to accept Jesus into their hearts?”  Okay, so now I feel like I’m just ranting and I’m being incoherent at 2 am, but it’s just been on my mind with this very unsettling feeling… so I just had to get it out somehow (isn’t that why I have a blog?)

Yes, it’s cute and funny… but I believe we’re doing these kids disservice when we just laugh it off… but we should really help them understand what it means to have God who loves us so much that He wants to be friends with us forever… and that although we have done a lot of bad things (and we will continue to do them even as adults), God had Jesus take the punishment for our mistakes because He loves us soooooo much… so we can love Jesus, obey Jesus (often with help of the adults in our lives), learn to trust Jesus, and also have forever friendship with Jesus.  Okay, it’s late… that’s my rant for today!

Thought process of a 4-year old…

I went to my cousin’s church last Sunday, and started conversing with a 4 year old girl.  She actually had met me and my dad the night before when we arrived at my cousin’s home, and they were babysitting.  Our conversation went like this:

G:   Why do you have braces?

Me:  Because my teeth are crooked.

G:  Where is your mommy?

Me:  My mommy isn’t here.

G:  Why?  Where is she?

Me:  Well, she’s in Heaven.

G:  But heaven is in the sky!  (pointing up)  Why is she in heaven?

Me:  Well, she got really really sick, and she died.  So she’s in heaven now.

G:  Oh, is she wearing braces in heaven?

Me:  ummmm… I don’t think so…

(turns out G’s mom is a dentist…  I love the way these little kids think…)

love = scream!!!

I’ve been trying to organize my life… it’s a daunting task… but came across this which put a huge smile on my face!!!

when you open the card...

turn the card over and you see...

(from a 2nd grader when I went over for dinner w/ his family)

Hi Pastor Gloria, 

and thanx 4 your email address because I don’t really have any friends 😦  but now I have u (if u have any other duds or gals that I know than tell them to email me I prefer people that r up to date like u!  🙂

(while cleaning out my email account, found this email from a 5th grader who just opened an email account)

J:  Lunch time is the worst time of the day!

Me:  Lunch time is my favorite time of the day!

J:  But lunch time is BORING!

J:  It’s unfair!

Me:  What’s unfair?

J:  I just don’t know!  (with a distressed look on his face…)

(convo with a 4-yr old while I’m trying to get him to eat!)

Kidmin Weekend Smiles…

This past weekend, I had the privilege of leading Kidmin at a friend’s church retreat… We had children from 1.5 yrs old to 9 yrs old… talk about a big gap… but, oh how I enjoyed my time with little ones!!!  The following are some fun & awwww moments:

  • “I did stinky-poo.  Can you flush my toilet?”  (3 yr old; yes flushing the toilet comes w/ the territory…)
  • Me:  “Do you remember what we learned today?”  (asking a 3 yr old at 11 pm… you can tell that she is so tired that she’s not thinking clearly…)  I:  “uuuuggghhh…”  Me:  “Let me help you…  Jesus for…”  I: “FIVE!”  (her mom and I busted out laughing…. the lesson was Jesus forgives us.  Oh well….)
  • “you do fun crafts and snacks!”  (a compliment from a 6 yr old.  She remembered the Bible story & point too!)
  • (While playing Veggietales Dance, Dance, Dance)  Me:  “I’ll tell you where you step… follow these arrows…  Up, Up, Up” (me calling out the arrows).  E:  (jumps every time I say “up.”  I should have clarified better afterall, she is only 4 yrs old.)
  • Hot cocoa snack with large marshmellow to represent Jesus and lots of mini-marshmellows to represent the crowd that came to hear and see Jesus in the story of the paralytic man brought by his four friends (taken right out of Humongous Book of Preschool Lessons).  “Oh my gosh, look how crowded the house was!!!!  There are so many little marshmellow people there!!!”  (so glad this 6 yr old got the illustration!!!)
  • “K’s high of the day was being able to go to your class twice in one day!”  (from a parent)

 

I LOVE KIDMIN!!!