Sundays can be difficult for a toddler.
One Sunday I took my son to church with me at a different location. It is not our usual church, but on weekends my husband is working, I take my son there because it has a childcare during the service. That morning we woke up 15 minutes later than usual, which means we got out the door 15 minutes later than usual. I did not have time to feed my son a normal breakfast, so he had milk and a cheese stick in the car. After all, the childcare would probably have a snack.
We got to the church just as the first song was beginning as shuffled downstairs to the childcare center only to discover the lights were off and childcare was cancelled this week. We proceeded to go to the back to the crying room, so we could spend church there. Unfortunately I was not equipped with my normal cracker snack, books, and toy cars that I usually bring to the normal church when we go as a family. We made do with water in a sippy cup and an Apple TV remote that accidentally fell into the diaper bag. The crying room had two religious children’s books to look at, some wooden chairs that made a high pitched squeaking sound when pushed, and an icon of toddler Jesus and Mary, which my son pointed out how much he loved Jesus’ bare feet. “Jesus- FEET! FEET!”
We were soon joined by a couple with a 1 year old girl, who was quite energetic, and unfortunately copied some of my son’s less desirable behavior like jumping on the (low to the ground) ledge next to the large glass windows that faced the sanctuary. She started to “jump, jump, jump” just like him and hit her head on the bar right above. They decided to leave the crying room.
So, we had the crying room to ourselves, and I’d say we did fine and survived through the remainder of church. I don’t remember anything about the reading or homily, but my son and I were present there. During church that day I asked myself, “Why I am even here? How can this delight the Lord when it is simply a trial of my patience and a moment of possible stress?” The Lord said to me, “This is the day I have made for you to be with me. I am not asking you to be able to give church your full attention, but I that you and your son spent time with me today.” So, my encouragement for all of us, whether or not we have little ones or not, is to answer the Lord’s invitation to us at church and even in our daily lives. He wants us present to him. He doesn’t need anything fancy- just us. Can we all made Him smile by spending time with Him?
And by the way, never before have I noticed toddler Jesus’ feet on an icon! My toddler realized Jesus had feet just like him!