Monday, December 19, 2011

Behold Your Little Ones

21 And when he had said these words, he awept, and the multitude bare record of it, and he took their little children, one by one, and bblessed them, and prayed unto the Father for them.

 22 And when he had done this he wept again;
 23 And he spake unto the multitude, and said unto them: Behold your little ones.
 24 And as they looked to behold they cast their eyes towards heaven, and they saw the heavens open, and they saw angels descending out of heaven as it were in the midst of fire; and they came down and aencircled those little ones about, and they were encircled about with fire; and the angels did minister unto them." (3 Nephi 17:21-24, Book of Mormon)

I have traveled out to Wisconsin for my nephew's baptism for one of nine (9!) of my sister's children.  Any one who knows me well or even a little has heard me mention them -- my favorite way to add shock and awe to any conversation.

But the real reason I bring them up is because they are such wonderful examples of what it means to live our faith.  Somehow, my sister and brother in law have been able to parent in a way to produce children who are clever, fun, and full of faith.

Their faith was demonstrated to me again this weekend when my sixteen-year-old niece gave a talk on the gift of the Holy Ghost at her brother's baptism.  She explained that once he was baptized, he will be given the gift of the Holy Ghost by special priesthood ordinance.  It would serve several functions in his life from thereon out - comfort him when sad, warn him of spiritual and physical danger, testify of truth, and, perhaps most importantly, let him know when he would need to repent and become clean again.

She explained that everyone feels the Spirit differently - she feels it as a burning in her heart - and that, while she wasn't always worthy of having it with her, she cherished it and wanted him to come to know, understand, and love the peaceful feeling which had brought her so much happiness.

It was a really powerful testimony, in part because she wasn't an adult who was "suppose" to know what to say and do.  As she taught and testified, the Spirit bore witness that what she was saying was true, and my little nephew was rapt.  He also said he felt the Spirit.

There have been other moments when the faith of these children have been manifest - in my two-year-old nephew's eagerness to say prayers, in my newly baptized nephew telling me upon learning that he was suppose to read his scriptures every day that (with concern in his voice) he didn't read them every day - he read them every night (cute!), in my teenage nieces' choice of words and attitudes towards helping out with the younger children, in their plans for their future, and in their philosophy about learning and seeking careers while allowing and planning for motherhood.

It has reminded me of the time during the Savior's visit to Ancient American upon his death and resurrection in the Book of Mormon when he called for the little children to be brought to surround him.  He then blessed them, and, after praying (perhaps so the little ones could hear and have their own faith stimulated?), commanded the multitude to, "Behold your little ones!"as angels and heavenly fire descended to surround those children.

I wonder how often those of us who are blessed to have children of our own or to enjoy others' children pause to behold our little ones.  I certainly have been in awe as I have "beheld" the faith of my sisters' children.

1 comment:

  1. That's one of my favorite parts of the Book of Mormon. I have been "beholding" some really fun little ones with having my grandkids here. Such simple, direct faith and expanding minds. I love having them here with me!