My favorite moment of the week caught me completely by surprise…and brought the meaning of Advent and of the Christian life home to my heart in the space of a nanosecond.
A friend of mine who has five children had come over for an afternoon cup of coffee (and hot cocoa for our little ones). Including my Toddler Bear, there were six young children sitting around my kitchen table. The kids held up their mugs as I poured hot cocoa into each, and then I passed around a plate of warm Santa Lucia buns. When I offered the plate of buns to the eight year old boy sitting at my table, instead of taking one as his siblings had done, he said “Thank you but you can serve Celia (his four year old sister) first.”
The exchange happened so quickly that I’m not sure anyone else caught it, and I’m fairly confident no one else was impacted the way I was.
First, what an amazing tribute to this boys’ parents, that an 8-year-old would refuse a sweet treat until his younger sister was served. You don’t see that kind of manners very often any more. Super sweet, super impressive. I hope I can teach my own boys to be half as polite as this young man was in my home.
But the deeper meaning of the boy’s behavior was not lost on me. For aren’t we all called to such selfless love – laying down our own comfort, our own desires, our own convenience, for the sake of those who are less significant or less fortunate than ourselves?
The “Christmas rush” is certainly upon our culture. Truly, in some shopping malls and mega store parking lots these days you’d think us humans had turned into a pack of frenzied hyenas. We can’t seem to get in a parking lot or out of one fast enough. We’re willing to cut people off, scoot, push, squish, stress and stomp our way through the season of “joy peace and love.”
It’s little eight year old boys who show deference to their sisters at snack time that shake us out of our selfishness and back into reality. For “reality’ this Advent is not the shopping mall. It’s the quiet. The forsaken. The small and lowly. It is this reality that raises our minds and hearts to the Prince of Peace born on Christmas.
Thank you, Tobias, for your example that brought my perspective back to reality.
…and Happy Friday y’all!