When my kids call me “classic,” it’s their not-so-veiled way of calling me old.

While growing older is something I can’t avoid, and don’t want to given the alternative, old is not a way I want to be, especially not at Christmas.

It used to be easy to do kid-stuff when our children were small. Our Christmas season was filled with holiday fun for them: getting the tree, decorating, baking cookies, caroling, pageants, parties, stringing lights or popcorn, making crafts, shopping, wrappingoh, and keeping secret what was under the tree. That might have been the best part of all because it invited those little wondering minds to sneak under the tree when they thought I wasn’t looking to snoop, look at tags and maybe even give that box a shake or two. What delight there is in a child’s wonder! Some things never get old.

Somehow though, as I have gotten older, the preparations have lost their luster. The kids do their own thing and their Christmas lists have gotten shorter. The gifts are more expensive, more detailed and often just a request in an email link so I get ‘just the right thing’. After all, you can’t count on old mom to know where to get the latest in fashion, fad or technology. Gone is the snooping, the shaking and the secrets. When did we lose the wonder?

This year however, we have puppies. Two adorable, energetic and exhausting (did I say lovable?) puppies, and they are full of mischief. The world is their plaything; everything is for investigating, nibbling, tugging, splashing, eating or pouncing on. Play is their purpose. Wonder is their world.

When did I lose this? Can it be retrieved? That’s when I came across this in a magazine on my counter:

“Once a day, do what a kid would do.”

I could do this. I could jump in the leaves, roll down the hill, splash in the puddle, gallop up the driveway. I could let play back in, classic play, simply by asking ‘what would a kid do?’ A kid would look at the lights in the sky and wonder if they could ever fly there. A kid would listen to the shrill whistle of a bird and wonder how a tiny animal could be SO LOUD. A kid would smell the smoky winter air and wonder which neighbor had a fire going and whether there were marshmallows.

Somehow, doing what a kid does even has me wondering what a kid thinks. So what’s the recipe? Fond memories, a still vivid imagination, some zany puppies, and an Advent pledge: “once a day, do what a kid would do.”

Unfortunately, what was so easy when the kids were small, now takes dedicated effort. So far I am resisting the urge to Google ‘how to be a kid.’ After all, spontaneity is the door to childhood and wonder is the key. I am putting my foot down; this Advent, I refuse to be an old fart. Wait, can I say that? Why yes, I’m a kid.

If kid gets too hard, maybe I’ll channel a puppy or two. Do you know the best thing about puppies? Even when they are engrossed in tussling and tugging on each other’s ears, they stop and run to you in sheer delight whenever you enter the room. Maybe that’s what will grow in me this Advent season, sheer delight when I see my Master coming.

Here’s the challenge: once a day, do what a kid would do. Of course, my kids will be completely embarrassed. Someday, when they have kids, I hope they’ll understand.

“Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” ~ Matthew 18:3

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Floris UMC Update

In response to COVID-19, Floris UMC will close its facility for large gatherings, including worship and small group activities. This is effective March 12, until further notice. The building will remain open for essential staff/employee activities. Live Stream worship will be available Sunday at 9:15 a.m. Life Groups are encouraged to meet online using virtual platforms. For further information, please view Rev. Tom Berlin’s Weekly Message; or contact the church’s Executive Director at 703-793-0026, Ext. 115.