He was in his mid-80s, wrinkled as an old washboard, and he used a walker to drag along his crippled leg. Although he lived alone, he was intensely happy. He had a host of friends, many of whom visited him regularly because he gave them a spiritual lift. He dubbed himself, "Cheerful Old Frank Jones".
His pastor came to visit him for the same reason. "The man is a true saint," the pastor said to his wife and friends. And, the pastor confessed, old Frank had taught him a lesson. Each time the pastor called on the joyful fellow, Frank handed him his church envelope containing his gift for the church. One day the pastor thought, "Frank probably needs the money more than the church." So, the pastor suggested to Frank that the church was doing well financially and really didn't need his gift. Old Frank smiled, handed his envelope to the pastor and said, "Pastor, the church may not need my gift, but, I need to give it.
Frank knew that loving and giving cheerfully where necessary for a healthy spiritual life.
The pastor left carrying a memory and a lesson he never forgot.
The theme for this years' Light a Candle for Children is "Beating Swords into Plowshares: Ending the Violence of Guns and Child Poverty", which recognizes the impact of gun violence and poverty on children. The theme also recognizes that violence against children manifests not only in guns and poverty, but suicide, child abuse, hunger, anxiety, inadequate education, and in many other ways.
Prayer matters. Prayer communicates with the still-speaking God about our concerns and worries in this fragmented world. As faithful people, let us cofus on special prayers, on ou deepest desires for the needs of children. Let us listen for the voice of the Divine so that we might hear and become co-creators of a peaceful worlkd for children.
(Adapted from Rev. Tim Graves' "Light a Candle" brochure)
1. Begin each day with prayer. We all need divine guidance as we take on the challenges each day brings. Let children know you'll be praying for them while they're away from home. Then do so, several times throughout the day.
2. Teach children that each new day is a gift from God. Be grateful for it. Wake children with humor. Caress them lovingly. Tell them God wants the best for them, and encourage them to get ready for whatever surprises the day might hold.
3. Make children's daily homecoming a cheerful occasion. Listen carefully to their experiences. Affirm that you're proud of them and pleased to be their parent (grandparent, caregiver, etc.)
4. Make home life joyful and memorable. Play games, tell funny stories, take walks, and eat together. Build pleasant memories that kids will remember for a lifetime.
TELL CHILDREN THAT YOU LOVE THEM!