My youngest daughter has always been her own person. She is still, after living almost a decade, able to be a free thinker and is true to her convictions.  She does not shrink back from things, nor does she succumb to the judgement of others.

We are blessed to have many friends with girls who are just a bit older than our youngest. Therefore, we often receive bags of nearly new hand-me-downs. Since this happens with more than one family, our youngest is pretty well-dressed. 

Since I am a poor school teacher, I am so thankful.

But even with an abundance of stylish clothing at her disposal, my youngest has chosen her own style more often than not. There was a period of time when she wore some snazzy red cowboy boots with almost every outfit. Since we have four children, we didn’t have the energy nor even the concern to argue with her. We figured if she was confident in her choice of clothing, who really cares?  Those who judge her for her choice of apparel weren’t worth our time anyway.

We did intervene a few times when she wanted to wear a swimsuit top or winter coat out of season, but those times were few and far between.

I don’t ever think we as parents were worried about what others thought of us.  We were more concerned with what we always called the “up and down church lady” – you know the look I’m talking about. When a seemingly nice lady said hello and then proceeded to survey you from head to toe.

It’s terrible that I give this “look” the name of “church lady,” but I’m afraid this is where it happened the most. We didn’t ever want our daughter to notice this look, nor did we want such behavior to rub off on her. So, needless to say we have had a lot of conversations with our kids about what some people think are important and how people, even their own parents, can be too stinkin’ shallow at times.

Last week, it was pajama day at school. Even though our daughter has an overabundance of pajamas to wear, her pajama drawer is not what you’d call organized. Therefore, bedtime apparel is often an eye-popping costume of varying patterns. She is always comfortable but seldom would pass the stylish test.

You guessed it: on pajama day, she wore a beautiful pajama top of emerald bluish-green with beautiful little reindeer. Even though the matching bottoms must have been in that abysmal drawer somewhere, our daughter chose her favorite pink pajama bottoms, be-speckled with pictures of cupcakes. As I said before, it was eye-popping.

Because I left for school early, I didn’t see the outfit until later that evening.  Even though my daughter was bursting with the news and excitement of her Christmas party, all her perfectionist father could think of was “You wore that to school today?” 

I did manage to ask her if any of her buddies thought she had an unusual pajama combo on, and she said “No.” There was no sign of concern or sound of shame in her voice, and she went on to talk about how much fun she’d had and showed me photos of the party her teacher had sent us.

In the photo, there were plenty of kids with matching, Christmas-themed pajamas. My daughter stuck out like a sore thumb; a gloriously happy and content sore thumb.

For that, I’m enormously thankful I hope my own issues never taint her attitude. I am in hopes that the world as I know it doesn’t rub off on her too much, and if it does, I am in hopes she will be equipped with the same “devil may care” attitude she possesses at age 9.

I think of Christ’s love for us every year at this time, and I can relate it to my daughter and her choice of clothing; it’s never about what we do, how shiny we look, how we perform, or how hard we work. God loves us anyway.  

We don’t have to do a darn thing to earn his love.

My daughter’s attitude reinforces that. She feels accepted and happy. She has friends who don’t look down their nose at her, and she in turn supports them.  

At this time of the year, we look to a baby for hope and a message of love and peace. How unworthy we are, yet how loved we are to have a God who would send this child.

I am reminded how much little ones can teach us, especially when it comes to the messages that are more prevalent at holiday time.  

If you watch many of these little guys closely, you will see their message rings true throughout the year.  Oh to be young again, if for nothing else than the innocence.

Didn’t Jesus say something about being more like little children?  I think God looks for us to be meek, submissive and childlike –especially with our hearts.

Especially with our faith.

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