Saturday, 8 December 2012

Room at the Inn


With Christmas and the end of the year approaching, I've been reflecting on the oft quoted words of Charlotte Mason,

'The question is not,––how much does the youth know? when he has finished his education––but how much does he care?'

Whether we are awake to it or not, we are continually influencing our children. They are absorbing our attitudes and they get to know what we care about and what we don't just by being with us.

What qualities do I want to see in their lives?
What will I give them as an inheritance?
Are they initiators?
Do they care?
Are they great-hearted (magnanimous)?
Do they make room for others?

This week I'm taking our 4 youngest to a nursing home to join some friends in a Christmas service for the residents. We did it last year and were so surprised at the response we had and how open and engaged some of the residents were.

We were having a discussion after our Plutarch reading the other morning which related to one of the character's attitude toward people - he saw them as objects to be manipulated - and this led us to the idea which pervades our culture: that people only have value if they are 'useful.'
The people we ministered to last year would generally be considered to be past their use by date but regardless of how they are labelled, they have intrinsic value and it was so humbling to see their response to a group of children and their mums singing for them.

Undoubtably, Christmas is a busy time for most of us, and we take advantage of the season to catch up with family and friends, but when the Saviour of the world was about to be born his mother was hard put to find a welcome. I wonder if He had come in our time if He would have found no room at the inn.

Christmas is a time to remember that God so loved the world that He gave, He initiated, took the first step.

For the past couple of years we've extended our Christmas to others who have no family near or are single parents. Once we had a mother, a Korean lady who could speak only limited English, and her three children. It was a little awkward but her children had a ball and it was no great hardship to feed a few more.

I want my children to be open hearted.
I want them to care enough to initiate.
I want them to make room for others.

I've posted about some practical Christmas ideas here.

5 comments:

  1. I just love this post! So challenging! *gulp* Thanks for sharing!
    ~ Amy

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  2. Such an inspirational post, thank you. I love how your school studies also help to reinforce these values you aspire to. When I was younger my Girl Scouts group used to put on a Christmas performance at a nursing home every year, and I still remember the grateful faces of the residents there. Merry Christmas!

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  3. Thanks Amy & Catherine. Have a blessed Christmas.

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  4. I love your children's connection with their studies,their faith and "real life". This makes it all real. May you all be so blessed as you give and share.

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