Often we hear the phrase “Christmas is for children” and while it may seem like a cliché, it really is true. Children have an ability to abandon themselves to the joy, the anticipation, the expectations of this marvelous holiday that we lose when we become adults with responsibilities and budgets and hard economic realities. They enter into preparations with a glee that knows nothing of the perfect Pinterest project or decorations inspired by glossy magazines. Watching children create worlds out of their imaginations and doing our best to take part in their visions shows a respect for God’s movement within them and reminds us of our own more carefree days. There’s no doubt that the pope follows the one who encouraged us to become like little children: dependent, needy, but open to the grace and protection and providence of God. Find ways to include children in your Christmas preparations as well as the celebration of the day itself. Let them decorate their rooms themselves. Encourage them to help with decorating cookies, even if they use half a bottle of colored sugar on one cookie in the beginning. Overlook the five ornaments on one branch of the tree because that’s where the four-year-old could reach. Take delight in the Fisher-Price donkey on the roof of the stable where an adult would put the star. Christmas reminds us that there’s more to life than the workaday adult world.
—from the book The Peace of Christmas: Quiet Reflections from Pope Francis
by Diane M. Houdek