When my brother Joe and I were young boys growing up in the foothills of South Carolina, a favorite pastime was using Mom's canning jars for catching fireflies. About dusk, we'd begin our assault on the little lights that flickered near the bushes and shrubs surrounding our home. Thirty minutes later our jars were teeming with lightning bugs. Sometimes we'd squeeze the area that lit and smear a streak of light down our faces to imitate our Cherokee Indian ancestors.
The cycle continues. I chased after fireflies with my five-year-old last evening. We used an old canning jar for memory's sake. It took us a while, but by dark we had collected a 40-watt bulb's worth of lightning bugs. As we chased after the insects, Joshua asked the key question, "Dad, how does it do it? How do they light up?" I know there are scientific explanations and I'm sure I could surf the Internet to the point of providing graphic details, but the answer I used satisfied my five-year-old's curiosity.
"It's a little miracle of God, Josh. The first book of the Bible tells how God created all the creatures of the earth and placed them on the earth. God made this little insect with a built-in flashlight so it could see to fly in the night. Just as we use headlights on our car, this little insect uses taillights to light the way." No more explanation was needed. My son accepted this simple answer because of his trust in God. Simple acceptance...God-sensitive. I like that...God-sensitive!
As my son rounds the edge of the shrub and grasps another insect for the jar, he's not just catching fireflies, he's catching miracles...and he believes it! I also grasp one of God's miracles when I wrap the arms of my children around my neck and celebrate childhood. It is easy to take my children for granted, but they truly are miracles. Each one is a gift from God. Daily, on my knees, I should remind myself of their value and place in His kingdom.
In John 10:32, Jesus says to those who do not believe he is the Son of God, "I have shown you many great miracles from the Father." Even after seeing those miracles, the people still wanted to kill Christ. Many people still do not understand that children are indeed miracles.
I believe one of the major factors why parents don't see their children as miracles from Christ is because we don't understand our value. It takes a healthy, functioning, God-centered person to know we have value in this world and to continue to use our life to glorify Christ. Without that value we find through the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, we feel worthless, creating a general negative feeling and attitude about all people, including our own children.
Today, we need to find our value in Christ, know that he is making a difference through our life, and trust that he will use those who come behind us to faithfully follow him. When we see the potential wrapped up in each child the Lord has given us, then we can see how our life can be that light to the rest of the world. I want to keep catching fireflies and marveling at the miracles of God. I pray that my neighbors will come to see the wonder of God's great love through the wonder of childhood.