A Child's Faith
I was reading over some old articles I had written years ago. This is one that really jumped out at me, which I wrote when my daughter was just five years old. It's lesson is as vital to me now, as it was then. This is the article as I wrote it then, with some minor changes.
"Mommy, Mr. Frosty is broken!," exclaimed my five year old daughter, Faith. I clipped the last tiny colored light bulb to a branch, and lifted the bough of the thick pine tree to see what she was doing. I could barely see my daughter through the branches and twinkling lights.
"Mr. Frosty?," I questioned, working my way around the Christmas tree.
Faith's legs straddled the box of carefully wrapped ornaments. "You know, my snowman ornament I made in kindergarten last year," she sniffed. She tenderly cradled the pieces of broken snowman in her hands. A tear crept a lonely path down her cheek, in spite of her efforts not to cry.
I remembered the day she brought her treasured ornament home. She was so proud of her work. Elaborately and lovingly crafted of styrofoam, felt, sticks and a sprinkling of glitter, Mr. Frosty was very special. Faith had immediately placed the ornament in a place of honor on the tree, eye level to a five year old, and directly in front.
I knelt down next to my daughter now. She gently handed me her broken treasure. "Mommy, you can fix him, can't you?," she asked. Her eyes were hopeful, trusting. I quickly assessed the damage, and assured her that a little glue would do the trick.
Moments later, Mr. Frosty was whole again. "I knew you could fix him, mommy. Thank you!" My daughter hugged me tightly, then was off to place her beloved snowman on her special branch.
Why can't my hurts be 'fixed' so quickly? I thought of my dad, who had died a few months before, and my mom, who had lost her battle with cancer six years earlier. Emptiness enveloped me as the holidays approached. Could I face the upcoming festivities without my dad? He had been my rock, and although I was grown with a daughter of my own, he was still there, encouraging and uplifting me, right up until the day he left us. How would I get through this season when I miss him so much?
I tried to take comfort from familiar family traditions, but they only seemed to emphasize my loss. I went through the motions of decorating the house and shopping for gifts, but the gloom which stubbornly lingered in my heart had stolen my joy.
Where are you, Lord? I am hurting and feel so alone. Why won't you take this pain away? I had begun to wonder if He heard me, if He even knew that I, like the fragile ornament, was "broken," and needed fixing.
Faith interrupted my thoughts, "Mommy, will you pick me up so I can reach the high branches? I want to put some ornaments up there."
As I lifted my daughter so that she could place her ornaments on the branches that she could not reach alone, I began to see that God was trying to show me something. In her child-like faith, my daughter had entrusted her precious Mr. Frosty to my capable hands, knowing that I could fix him. She turned to me again when she could not reach the higher branches, never doubting that I would lift her up so she could reach.
I realized, then, that while I had been praying and asking God to help me, I was not really trusting that He would do so. I saw that He had been there all along, waiting for me to let go so He could begin to heal me.
When we had finished the last bit of decorating, I carefully unwrapped each piece of the creche, while Faith arranged them under the tree. "Where's baby Jesus, Mommy?," Faith asked. I knelt beside my daughter in front of the familiar manger scene.
"We don't put Jesus into the manger until Christmas," I explained, "to remind us how empty our lives are without Him. Then, when we put Him in the manger to complete His family, we know that He will always be with us, too."
In the Bible it says that Jesus came that we might have life, and have it more abundantly. We just need to trust and have faith in Him and His timing. He brought that lesson home to me this Christmas, through the simple faith of a child.
Many years (over 20) have passed since I wrote that article, yet the lesson it held has transcended the years. Mr. Frosty has long since gone the way of a myriad other hand-crafted works of art. In my mind's eye, however, I can still see him, smiling at me from his perch of honor on the Christmas tree. Though the road of life hasn't always been smooth and easy, I always know that when my burden becomes too heavy, I can give my problems to God, and He will lift me up.
My granddaughter will soon be bringing little treasures home from preschool for her mommy and daddy to put on their Christmas tree. I hope she brings some to Nana and Papa, too!