Sunday, September 28, 2008

Paper Bag Christmas

If you read my blog regularly, you know that Mia, my five-year-old, has an amazing amount of faith. She accepted Jesus as her Savior a few months ago, and she's always coming up with something that makes me stop in my tracks and reconsider my own faith. Last night she did it again. She likes to fall asleep curled up next to me in bed while I read. I had read her a story and then sang her a song. She was snuggled up tight next to my side when I heard very soft whisperings, obviously not meant for my ears, but then I heard the word Jesus and then nightmares. I asked her if she was praying, and she said yes, then went right back to it. I put my head on top of hers and listened to her talk with God. She asked him to keep nightmares away and to watch over and take care of everyone she loved in the whole world. I couldn't make out every word, she was so quiet. She finished up with, "And God, please grow in my Spirit and my heart." I had tears in my eyes by that point. "Mommy," she said, "I'm going to keep praying in my head until I fall asleep, and then try to do it all night long." Peter's words Pray without ceasing came into my head, and I assured her that it was a wonderful idea. Then I prayed to God myself, thanking Him for this child who teaches me what it means to truly have faith and how to pray. I can't remember the last time I asked God to grow in my heart. My prayers tend to be laundry lists. She fell asleep quickly, and I noticed that her hands were still clasped in prayer. That's today's pic; Jesse took it for me so we would remember and could share Mia's prayer.

Paper Bag Christmas by Kevin Alan Milne is a short, charming story about how one child came to understand the real meaning of Christmas and the depth of God's love. Mo and his older brother are recruited by Dr. Christopher Ringle to volunteer at the children's ward in the weeks leading up to Christmas by promising them that they will get the best Christmas present they never asked for in their time there. The two boys make their way through the unit making friends until it comes to a young girl, Katrina, who wears a paper bag over her head to hide the damage that her treatment has done to her face and a boy who doesn't believe in Jesus so doesn't expect anything from Santa. The kids put together a Christmas program that will change everyone who attends and all of the children as well. Milne captures the inherent cruelty and kindness that children bear so easily. Mo is utterly charming in his willingness to do whatever it takes to make Katrina a part of the group. The tragic ending is uplifting in the way only God can work things. It's the perfect book to help get you in the mood for the holidays.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend! I'm watching the Packers; they are winning so far. Whoo-hoo!


santalivenow said...

What a great story! I wish you could post it on Santa's Social Network.on santalivenow