“And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.”
It’s always so familiar – the way I feel every time I’m about to welcome a new baby into our home – so humbled, inadequate, and full of nervous anticipation.
I remember Mary and how after she delivered the Savior of the world, she “kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
What “things” must she have pondered? I’m sure it was the whole range of feelings any new mother experiences, but on a much grander spectrum as she recognized that she was not just a new mother, but the mother of the Son of God.
And so I too take some time to ponder with scriptures in hand. I am led to Luke 9:46-48: “Then there arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest. And Jesus, perceiving the thought of their heart, took a child, and set him by him, And said unto them, Whosever shall receive this child in my name receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me receiveth him that sent me: for he that is least among you all, the same shall be great.”
The passage pierces my heart with intense clarity. When we choose to welcome a little child (or newborn or teenager or even a grown child) into our home, we are really receiving Christ. With tears stinging my eyes I pause – allowing the whole gravity of my calling to descend upon me. Perhaps I’m more like Mary than I supposed. It’s a sobering thought.
Am I up to the task? Are any of us mothers, grandmothers, aunts, teachers, caregivers ever fully prepared to receive these heaven-sent children of God?
I glance around my home. His nursery is ready – the crib is all set up with stacks of clothes and blankets all washed and tucked away in dresser drawers. Yes, the physical preparations are complete, but what of the spiritual?
Is my home ready to receive this precious little one? I desire more than anything to bring this child to a home that is filled with Christ’s spirit – one where he feels welcomed and loved and ever so close to the heaven he just left. But how can I create such an atmosphere?
The answer, of course, is Christ. As He becomes the center of our homes, the center of our lives, the very center of our hearts, our homes will mirror heaven and peace will distill upon our families.
I echo the words of Emily Freeman in her book The Christ-Centered Home: “I long to create settings that will allow my children to personally experience [Christ’s] love. I want to know Him better, seek Him more often, and fill my home with tangible reminders that he is at the center of everything we do.”
And so I commit to begin anew the quest to create a Christ-centered home. Unlike the physical preparations, the spiritual preparation will never be complete. It will take renewed effort throughout all the moments, the weeks, and the years. But with a prayer in my heart and a daily portion of grace, I know my little efforts can be magnified to become more than enough.
I breathe a sigh of relief. My heart and home are ready to receive.
Truth for Today
“…But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.”
“Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? Or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
Reflect and Respond
Consider the children of God that have been placed in your stewardship. How can you make them feel welcome and loved in a Christ-centered home? Might you elevate your perspective to receive these precious children as if you were receiving the Savior Himself?