As we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ I would wish to give an advice on how we should bring up our children.
Jesus said, “Let the children come to Me and do not hinder them for such belongs the Kingdom of Heaven” (St. Matthew 19:14). Our Most Loving Lord Jesus Christ had a special way with children. He loved and will always love all the children of the world. He opens His loving and saving embrace to them. He was happy to receive them and to bless them. He presented them as examples of “child-like” qualities that He wanted to see in all His followers–simplicity, purity, goodness, innocence, kindness, compassion, faith, trust, for their humble openness, unconditional love, joy and enthusiasm.
“Let the children come to Me…” One of the most real and effective ways that Our Lord calls children to Him today is through the Church, through the Sacraments, through prayer, through worship, through the Holy Scriptures, through our Christian parish. When the faithful assemble for worship and the Divine Liturgy is celebrated, the Chief Celebrant and Host is Jesus Christ Himself, Who calls out to all: “Come to Me.” By receiving His Precious Body and Blood with the fear of God, with faith and love, we are united with Him and with one another. Through Holy Communion the Orthodox Christian believer receives forgiveness of sins and eternal life. In other words, salvation! Will the parish children be in Church this coming Sunday and every Sunday, to hear the word of God and be blessed by Him?
In the Holy Orthodox Church, child rearing has long been considered a God-appointed, sacred and extremely important mission. Having this in mind, it is all the more puzzling for some why so many Orthodox couples struggle to raise their children within an Orthodox Christian frame of values.
As far as the Orthodox parents are concerned, they do not have to feel pressured to assume God’s role to protect their children from all known and unknown threats. It is an impossible task for a human. An Orthodox person understands that, after doing one’s best to take care of one’s offspring, “practicing what we preach” to our children and prayer with faith are what truly supplements any shortcomings of faulty human actions.
The best advice I have ever heard is that we should spend less time talking to our children about God, and more time talking to God about our children, that is, praying to God for them. And by striving to draw nearer to God, we can be sanctified by God’s grace and our home made holy, along with the family living in it.
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