Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sharing Jesus with a One Year Old

"Jesus said, Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven." And he laid his hands on them and went away."- Matthew 19:14-15
Though days with my five year old are filled with conversation that often lead to things of God, days with my one year old are much simpler. And I'm enjoying the opportunity to pour Christ into him now in simple ways that I pray will one day produce the fruit of the gospel down the road as he grows. 
My sweet one year old enjoying God's creation
There are some obvious things we do: praying for him each evening and together at meals, reading baby's first bible, pointing out things God made (the trees, birds, our toes, grass, big brother), sitting together at church in corporate worship before the sermon/kids classes, etc. 
But there are a few intentional things I do in the "everyday" of life to prepare the way for Jesus conversations to be normal and daily in our home down the road:

- We sing "Sunday school" songs that share the gospel as we do chores, eat meals, go for walks, etc. 
Each morning at breakfast, my oldest and I take our "picks" and almost always sing "Lord I Lift Your Name on High", which is fast and fun (with hand motions for him) and rich in the gospel and "Love the Lord Your God" (Lincoln Brewster version). This is not really a "kid" song, but shares our heart/call for our lives and our kids lives- to love God with ALL our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and love our neighbor as ourselves.
Everyday life is a fun gift from our loving God:)
- We read a simple, homemade "Jesus Loves You the Most" Picture Book- Noel Piper wrote a great book called Most of all, Jesus Loves You. We adapted that to a picture flip book of family members Caleb knows. We point to pictures of family and say "Mommy loves you. Gigi loves you lots and lots. Aunt Mary loves you (tickle while reading)..." The last page we say "God loves you the most." (As he gets older, we look for opportunities to dig in deeper and begin to share how God made us and loves us, but we do bad things and don't love Him back, so He sent His son Jesus to come and live a perfect life and then die and then beat death and save His own from forever death because of our sin.) Having this simple "God loves you the Most" or "Jesus loves you the Most" lays down an easy place to start those conversations later.
* Here's a website I recently learned how to make a ziploc picture book from (hers was for teaching the body using their own body pictures!). It's called I can teach my child and is filled with neat homemade crafts.

- "Praise the Lord for..." You know the milestone when little kids start lifting up their hands? And immediately you think "Touchdown" or "so big"! We started saying "Praise the Lord for..." and following with something we love about Him or His good gifts. Our five year old does it with us. Whenever my one year old's hands are up, we say "Praise the Lord for the sun." or "Praise the Lord Mommy feels better."
I'm striving to teach him to build his life on the Rock- Jesus- His Word
At risk of stating the obvious, the best way to teach any child about Jesus is by loving Him ourselves. As we are in awe of God and excited to live out His Word, the conversations come naturally. And it's fun to look for these "everyday" activities and milestones and see God so clearly there to be able to share with our kids. I'm reminded daily that there really are lots of ways to pour Christ's love into our kids even before they can speak. Praying you're encouraged to press on and pour into these littlest ones!