Some Innocence Lost

And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them, and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-3

Second Grade Sam

Efficient Christmas Present Wrapping 1, Childhood Innocence 0

It seemed like a good idea at the time. But it was not a good idea. See if you get this. It was last Sunday afternoon. I was the last to leave church after the prayers of preparation, Morning Prayer, Divine Liturgy, coffee hour, Nativity play rehearsals and then our teen meeting. I then drove out (way out) to Goodyear, AZ to pray for a parishioner preparing for heart by-pass surgery. I made it home by 3 for a power bar and oatmeal lunch before helping my sister-in-law get her Christmas tree. I got home much later than I ever do. (Not to worry, the Cowboy game wasn’t televised.)  My wife and daughter depart in peace for the grocery store and my oldest son was making skate history at the skatepark with his friend. So, Second-Grade-Sam and I are home alone. “Sam, want to wrap some Christmas presents?” “Woo hoo!” We wrap a couple of presents. That’s when I accidently took a little of my son’s innocence. I pulled out the espresso maker my mother-in-law bought for me so we could wrap it. Sam asks me, “Who is the coffee machine for?” “That’s for me.” I might as well have been speaking Finnish. His quick mind went to work trying to figure out what kind of world this is where a man is fully aware of the present he is receiving and is even wrapping it to put under the dead pine tree that is in the living room.

There was no explaining to Sam that the present party is pretty much done for the Over 40 crowd. I sheepishly said something about how at my age I was likely to forget what I had wrapped.

If you are 7 years old presents are surprises. Period. But the world looks different through my eyes. And, now sadly, it looks a little different through his, too. I do not think Jesus, in the verse above from Matthew, is promoting naiveté. But rather that we are to be humble, simple and without guile. Thanks be to God that Sam is still mostly all those things.



Filed under A Good Life

3 responses to “Some Innocence Lost

  1. Awww, don’t worry too much! I remember when I was about that age, we had Christmas shopper, as it was called, at my school. The room-mothers would organize it and all the kids came with a bit of money from their parents to buy Christmas gifts for the family. I was so excited about it and that I bought this special carved flowered soap for my Mom. So when I got home I ran and showed it to her! Imagine my sadness when my Mom told me I was not supposed to show her! But she comforted me right away and promised to forget all about it so it would still be a suprise. And you know when you are young you really believe that it is all okay and still a surprise. So I was still happy all those days up to Christmas because I had a ‘suprise’ special gift for my Mom. So don’t worry, I am sure your son will only have good memories of his Dad spending time with him wrapping presents; this is special time you had and he will treasure it. Do not worry!

  2. Richard Downing

    Father Bless,
    Your story took me off on a tangent. When we pray we are a little like Sam. We stand there with Christ as He prepares to make the greatest gift of all. We see, occasionally, little flashes of truth, and have small inspired glimpses of the reality, but never see the whole picture.
    Unless we accept this in childlike meekness, we will become cynical, like the world is cynical about the Great Gift.

  3. robertfrisby

    Fr. James,
    What a great slice of life you captured in your blog. I thoroughly enjoyed it! I hope your son recovers from your breach of Christmas etiquette and that you have a blessed Christmas!

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