"There she goes", I think to myself, as my youngest, "Co-Co" blurs past one room to the other, catching my eye, like a cat noticing a bird flutter by to settle on a branch out of reach. I wait a little while, because I know she is squirreling away, in a place she calls "My Treasure", some new and little thing-a-ma-bob she has found and holds dear to her heart. It could be her sister's bracelet, taken without permission in the hopes it will just be forgotten about, a puzzle piece, a special rock we found at the park, my favorite pen, or something really peculiar like used children's floss! I learn two very important lessons: 1 - There is no rhyme or reason to what fancies a girl's heart and 2 - If I'm missing something, I know where to look.
Co-Co's treasure got me thinking about My Treasure, too. My faith. As one who has explored his faith and lack there of over the course of at least three decades, and having explored becoming an atheist, turned agnostic, and ultimately returning to the Catholic faith of my youth, I am feeling blessed to know more fully in an adult way what a personal relationship with Christ means.
A personal relationship with Jesus is like any other that requires daily attention to remain vital; it includes the "little things" of prayer, mindfulness, scripture reading, and action. It is these "little things" that amount to a treasure I am adding to daily for my own spiritual edification, that of my community's and eventually to pass along to my children as an inheritance of faith. With each passing day together, we squirrel away memories in our hearts, that result in a shared history able to get us through any of life's challenges (and we have had our fair share).
By no means perfect, I could do better on many days. But rather than striving for perfection, I renew each morning a commitment to looking for what is meaningful in our faith, taking the time to explore answers to the questions I had long ago (and currently) and practice being the best I can be in my relationship to Christ. Why? I determined long ago, I would not allow my children to flounder in all the world will throw at them, without a good faith effort to give them a framework by which to gage the progress of their lives and the progress of the world in which they live. I once heard,
If you will not teach your children, someone will. Do you think that someone will have your children's best interest at heart in the temporal world or hereafter?The answer to that question is obviously, "No!" So apart from my belief in the importance of modeling for my children a relationship they can have hope in and will come to appreciate in their own lives when older, I believe in personal accountability to the knowledge I have of a creator. To not act on that knowledge would leave me emotionally and psychologically bland. Not something I wish to be for my children.
During this holiday time, in celebration of the birth of my Lord, I am particularly mindful and thankful for my children and what I learn from them. And I am thankful for my faith, My Treasure and God's grace that allows it. This gift doesn't come in a box; it fits from within given by a Savior to last a lifetime and thereafter. As with so many gifts we are offered, it must be accepted for there to be a continued binding of the relationship between the gift giver and gift receiver (to do otherwise is simply to reject the gift). To experience the full impact of the love with which a gift is given, it must be accepted with a fully open mind and heart, leading to a treasure of unimaginable value for this generation and the next.
What is your treasure? What inheritance are you working daily at to leave your own children? What treasure do your own children enjoy?
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Star of Bethlehem
Amazing research confirms the book of Revelation
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