In a child’s mind there is nothing unusual or forbidden about lying under the Christmas tree, enjoying the twinkling lights, and wondering what is in each of the packages. Children are naturally filled with amazement and marvel over the magic of Christmas.
I love how, according to Dictionary.com, “to wonder” can mean to “think or speculate curiously,” and it can also mean “to be filled with admiration, amazement, or awe; marvel.” This simple little word, wonder, has challenged me to reconsider all children, but especially those that we tend to limit.
As we marvel over the baby Jesus, we may be prompted to think about all that God created in the special gift of his Son. As the shepherds gathered, they had no idea how wonderful the gift of Jesus in that little manger was going to be. The child lying in the manger was born to save the world. Similarly, every precious child in this world was born with a purpose as well.
I think that Jesus wants us to engage with children of differing abilities with amazement for who they are, knowing that God has a unique plan and purpose for each of them. Baby Jesus came to bring them closer to God, just as He did for every other child in your church.
January will soon be upon us, and we often start the year with new goals and expectations. As a church, we often limit our expectations for the children we serve in disability
ministry. Perhaps we have the doors to our churches and Sunday school classrooms open, but are we open to discipling them and expanding the possibilities for their involvement in the life of the church?
I encourage you to consider the following questions:
- Have you offered leadership or helping roles in the Sunday school class to children of all abilities?
- Have you offered confirmation or discipleship classes to all children?
- Have you shared the gospel with children of all abilities, understanding that their responses may come in different forms?
- How many children in your church with a disability have been baptized?
- Have you asked adults of differing abilities to become members of your church family?
- Do ALL of the children and adults in your church have the opportunity to serve and share their gifts?
Let the wonder of Christmas, the wonder of Jesus’ birth, carry over and create wonder for every child in your ministry. As you open the gift each child brings, don’t have limited expectations, but have a curiosity and amazement for the gift they were created to give.
Deana Boggess is the author of Grace Without Margins and the Managing Director of Grace Without Margins, LLC. Deana served as an educator for 22 years and has been involved in disability ministry for 22 years as well. Her passion is to dispel fears and educate the church and schools on disability issues. Her joy is teaching children about children with disabilities and how to be an encouraging friend.