Parents of younger children, I know that going to church can be a difficult thing. It can be hard to get up, get the kids ready and so on and get out the door in time to be in a pew before the bells ring. Once there, it can be difficult to focus. They squirm and make noises (always during the quiet pauses before the prayers and other times when you will be the most embarrassed). All of this is just the tip of the iceberg for all that goes on in your morning, so that you can get to church.
It is hard, it is difficult and I know it, but parents, I love you for it. I do, I absolutely love all the effort that you put into raising your children in the church. I love it when I see you walking into church with your kids in tow. Sometimes your hair is frazzled, probably from all the squirming going on during the service, I know, but I love you for it. You are a blessing. Your children are blessed to have such a parent as you that would take the time and the energy of bringing them to church. And you know what, the church is blessed by you as well.
I know, I know, you are afraid of the stares and the embarrassment, but trust me, it is worth it. The stares are coming from people that have been there, done that. They feel your pain, and know what you are going through. Oh, and they think your kids are adorable. The embarrassment you feel is truly unnecessary. I don't often admit this, but sometimes during those pauses when I hear a child make noise or fight with their sister or what have you...I smile. I face the Altar so no one can see it, but it's true, I smile. I smile because it is a wonderful sound, it is the sound of children hearing and seeing what the church does. They are hearing the word of God, and seeing the church in prayer. They might not understand and it may seem like that toy that fell underneath the pew is more important, but trust me, they are taking notes.
When a child cries or throws a tantrum or otherwise makes a scene, I know it can seem embarrassing. However, even in the midst of this, your children are learning and hearing. They don't get it yet, sure, they want, whatever it happens to be, to be right now!! Sure, but even so, they still hear, they still see, they still learn.
The primary reason I bring this up is two fold. The first is because I do not think it is said often enough. It's not, but it should be. The second reason is because this past Sunday was Easter, it was the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. On the third day He rose from the dead. Easter makes all the difference in the world. If Easter would not have happened, well, none of this would be important. But it did happen, He did rise from the dead. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead on that first Easter morning, His words about letting the little children come to Him, and not causing one of the little ones to stumble just wouldn't be all that important, but He did and they are.
Knowing that Christ has risen, parents, we celebrate all the more that the little ones, your children, are coming to Him. They are being drawn in through His Words, and His Sacraments. And so parents, God bless you, and thank you for always remembering that Christ is Risen! He has Risen Indeed, Alleluia!