Two of my little girls have loose front teeth. They keep wiggling them, hoping they will come out before Christmas. They want to ask Santa for new teeth. Such a sweet request: so simple; so innocent. Truth be told, I would like that too. My favorite kind of smile is one where the front teeth are missing and the child is smiling from ear to ear, joy radiating from their face with an unmatched exuberance for life reflected in their eyes. Yes, if my girls lost their two front teeth at the same time I would be thrilled too.
But, more than likely that isn’t going to happen. The teeth are not ready to come out. The girls don’t seem to quite understand this and I’ve tried to tell them that it’s ok, but they still are holding out hope that it will happen. I don’t dare dash their hopes completely, instead, I tell them to continue to wiggle their teeth and maybe, just maybe, they will loosen up enough to fall out by Christmas.
The innocence and the hope that children possess are simply beautiful. They can be told that something is not possible and yet they still try and they still hope. They have a spirit about them that pushes them to go further, try harder, and believe even when there is little reason to believe. What happens to us as we get older? Where does that innocence go and how do we get it back?
Many of us have been exposed to many hardships and struggles and have been wounded in this journey we call life. Often this makes us calloused and hard. We lose hope in our fellow man and we close off our hearts to others. We worry about what is going to happen with our world and we can’t see it ever getting better. We know that man has fallen so far away from God that it will take a tremendous amount of work to get back to being a nation that puts God first. Many of us don’t see that ever happening as we know that often people don’t want to do the hard work. That joy that once radiated in our smiles is extinguished as we contemplate our troubles and the troubles of our world.
But does it have to be this way? Can we get back to feeling joy once again? How do we do this?
God knew we would feel this way. He foresaw the troubles we would have and He provided a way for us to regain our happiness and our love for life. He provided us with a gift that, once opened, would insure that we could always feel hope even in a world that is plagued by violence, heartache, and despair. He wrapped that gift in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a humble manger in Bethlehem. He awaits us. He longs for us. He is our gift from our loving Father.
I look at the babe Jesus and know that there is nothing more I want out of life than the hope, the love, and the peace that He brings. He is the ultimate gift. He is the gift that restores the joy and the exuberance for life that we lost as we grew up. He brings a smile to our faces that spread from ear to ear. When we open the gift that God so wonderfully gave us, we find that Christ’s love radiates out from us to others. We can’t help but become those hopeful young children who know that even though the odds are against them there is still a chance that they will still get what they want. The difference is that we know we have not only what we want, but also what we need.
Christmas is just days away. We look forward to celebrating the day that God gave us the gift of hope and unconditional love. If you haven’t unwrapped the gift of the Savior yet, I encourage you to do so. If you have unwrapped the gift but you just set it aside, I encourage you to take another look at it once again. You may be surprised at how beautiful, how wonderful, and how utterly perfect this gift is. Allow Christ to bring joy, hope, and peace into your life. Let His love radiate from you.
My children are hoping to lose their two front teeth in hopes that they will get two new ones for Christmas. I am hoping to lose my lack of faith, my anger, and my despair and through the gift of Jesus I know I will find hope, peace, and a joy that my heart cannot contain. I am excited to open my gift. I hope you are too.
Michelle Fritz is a daughter of God, a cradle Catholic, a Georgia peach, a devoted wife of almost 30 years to amazing husband Mike, and an eclectic homeschooling mother to eleven living children. She has experienced the loss of 16 babies in her call to be open to life, but knows that God is always loving and always gracious. She and her husband know that they have an army of Saints already in heaven!
In addition to her vocation as wife, mom, and homeschool teacher she also holds a Masters in Theology and has recently taken on the role of Youth Minister for both the middle school and high school groups at her parish.