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Letting Them Love

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Would you let your 3-year-old join an older gentleman, dressed as Santa Claus, at his table? Even though our children are teenagers now, this story made me wonder what I would have done if this had been one of my own kids.

Its a short, sweet story about a 3-year-old girl who saw Santa sitting alone and asked her mom if she could go sit with him.  Her mom said yes and snapped a picture of the two while they chatted like old friends.

In the end, I think I would have said yes to my 3-year-old’s request to join him, but I first would have had to deal with all the thoughts that would run through my mind first. Unfortunately, we live in a lost and broken world, and bad things do happen.

My over-protective-mom mode would likely have kicked in and imagined all the scenarios that could happen (From:  The older gentlemen leaps from the table with ninja agility and snatches my child and is at the exit in a wink. To: He makes some sort of off-color remarks to my child, forever scarring their sweet innocence.); and then in lightning fast speed determined the best plan of attack for each potential scenario before even considering my answer to my sweet child’s request.

(Please tell me that I’m not the only parent who regularly rehearses (in detail) all potential situations and outcomes in my mind before making choices regarding my children – even as the moment is happening!)

If you want to look at this from a strictly secular angle, the odds against someone someone snatching your child while in full view of you – who are only a few feet away – while you are recording the scene for posterity, are pretty low.  Not that crazy stuff like that doesn’t happen, but it’s just not that likely.  From the secular point of view, the odds are with you, and you will probably make this older man’s day.  You just might want to let them do it.

But how should a Christian parent look at situations like this?  Everything above still applies, but for the Christian, there is one more factor to be considered:  Love. The Bible reminds us that true love is not just a feeling, or something you say –  it is an action:

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. ~ 1 John 3:18

We talk about ‘Love’ all the time, especially as it gets closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas.  We are drawn closer to our family and friends as the holidays approach and get those warm, fuzzy feelings of being closer to each other.  But ‘Love’ is just another word until you put it into action!

Of course, we should not knowingly put our children in perilous positions, but they can certainly teach us about how to love like a child.  Pure, bold and unafraid.  We need to serve God like a child – seeking those who are lost, lonely or in need and love them as Jesus would – loving them by meeting those needs.

So tell me, WOULD you say yes to your child’s request to join that gentlemen at his table?

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