13 - Some Final Points  pp. 195-204

Some Final Points

By Wendy L. Haight

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Our hopes are centered on the little child. Is it possible that that little babe in the manger could be the Messiah? Today I want to say … be careful how we treat the little children. You don't know what's possible for that baby. That baby, that little child may be the next leader. … “Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not …” Without the little child we will never see God. … The kingdom of God is for the childlike …. We all need to learn to be childlike.

Pastor Daniels

In this excerpt from his 1992 Christmas sermon, Pastor Daniels used the child as a symbol of hope both for change in this world and for spiritual salvation. At First Baptist Church, children are treasured as the hope for the future and for the central role they play in the present as models of love and trust. In Sunday School and other church contexts, children are nurtured as future leaders. To be given such respect in the community can contribute powerfully to children's resilience, particularly their sense of self-worth and efficacy. Children also are given a place as legitimate community members whose current contributions are meaningful. To be given opportunities for genuine, legitimate participation can result in the development of many competencies, as well as opportunities to form meaningful relationships with caring adults.