One of my favorite things to do when my children were young was to shop for school supplies. Even after my children were old enough to go and buy the things they needed themselves, I still found myself drawn to the school supply displays in the stores. I would often purchase notebooks, folders, markers, and more...just in case someone needed them. (You can imagine my delight when I went shopping for the "Stuff the Bus" project!)
I was thinking the other day about why I enjoy this activity so much, and I came to the conclusion that it was because shopping for school supplies was such a fun experience for me when I was little. Back then, we did not get the supply list ahead of time. It was handed to us on the first day of school along with all the other forms we needed to have filled out. The first day only lasted until noon, and so when school ended, my sister and I would head home and have lunch. Our mother would then take us shopping. I still remember the smell of a new jar of white paste, and how wonderful it was to get a fresh set of watercolor paints. I also loved the little round paint pans we were told to purchase.
It's interesting to see how school supply lists have changed over the years. Today students need to purchase markers, glue sticks, colored pencils, folders, binders, scissors, tissues, and wet wipes, not to mention calculators and even laptops. The curriculum has also changed, so that young children - preschool and kindergarten - are being taught to read and to do math. Chalkboards are becoming a thing of the past, as more schools are using "smart boards" and other computer-related equipment to help teach.
In spite of all the changes taking place in the schools, one thing has not changed. That is the need to teach children about Jesus Christ. There are numerous references to children in the Bible. In Psalm 127:3, we hear "Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward." In Proverbs 22:6, it is written, "Train up a children in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it". And in the New Testament, we heard that the disciples tried to keep the children away from Jesus because they thought they would bother Him. Jesus, however, welcomed them with open arms, saying, "Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for such belongs the kingdom of heaven," (Matthew 19:14)
Children indeed belong to the kingdom of heaven. They are a blessing from God, and we are certainly blessed to have children here at Christ UM Church. It is my prayer that we will be able to grow our children's ministry to the point where we will need more than one children's Sunday school class, and that we will be able to offer a children's program of some sort during the week. I ask you to pray along with me, and to celebrate the children we have in the congregation now.
May God bring His blessing to you and to your family, now and forever more.