Three little inquisitive sets of eyes stare up at the well-loved brass crucifix I am holding. The other five sets of eyes are engaged in various activities around the room such as block building, puzzles, trying on fuzzy socks, and various forms of chewing.
“Who is this on the cross?” I ask.
“It’s ME.” Says one set of eyes.
“It’s Daddy.” Says another.
“That’s Jesus!” Says the third.
These are the elders of our little group…at the ripe old age of two-and-a-half, they are gathered around a small prayer table, fiddling with the linen, taking turns (sometimes forcefully) switching the candle on and off, and placing the crucifix on the table.
As we practice making our prayer hands, I ask: “What should we say to Jesus?”
The group decides to thank him for our families: “Mamas, Daddies, Brudders, Sissies, puppies, dinosaurs…”
I smile to myself as I listen and recognize just what I am in the midst of.
And so it goes on a typical Sunday in the nursery…the elders are the kids who were the chewers of last year, and the chewers will be sitting around the prayer table next year.
Some of these littles are wanderers, perusing the room, contemplating, watching. Others are the outspoken, loud-singing, “what’s next?” individuals.
Still others are the helpers, first to jump up and grab the instruments or stretchy bands. There may be one or two who are very vocally expressing their displeasure with being in the room at all, but I know with time and practice they will soon settle in and become part of the group.
All of these uniquely created personalities are woven into a tapestry and present in this little room.
This brief glimpse into the nursery room is what my husband, Blake, and I, and the rest of the children’s team, are blessed to experience on our Sundays. After the sometimes-exasperating task of readying our own children for church on Sunday, I admit that spending my next hour wrangling toddlers sometimes makes me question our role (and our sanity).
There are Sundays when I am tired and have trouble approaching this time with a joyful heart; but then we sing, we chat about fire trucks and favorite lovies, and I watch as they concentrate hard to raise just one finger to sing “This Little Light of Mine.”
My heart is transformed each time. I am in awe of the intricate way that God knit these tiny people together, and how He uses them to mold and transform us.
That’s the work of Jesus.