Last year our church began a new annual celebration: Children’s Day. A glance online will reveal that there are a few declared Children’s Days throughout the world. November 20th is one of the most common, since it commemorates the Declaration of the Rights of the Child by the United Nations on that day in 1959. But, of course, I would have never known any of that if I had not the interest to look it up. Like so many days of observance, it may officially be in the books, but it is little where else.
We, thus, decided to have Children’s Day in July for two reasons. First, our church has Vacation Bible School in July, so it was fitting to have the two events be side-by-side. Second, it fits with the progression of recognizing and appreciating mothers in May and fathers in June. Given our anti-family culture, celebrating mothers and fathers is thrust against the spirit of the age, but the culture at large is also specifically anti-natalist, that is, anti-children, which we see most clearly in the increasingly common view that bringing children into the world is ethically wrong, whether because of the suffering that is inevitable or in order to protect the environment. This should not come as a surprise to us because the Serpent is ever at enmity against the seed of woman. Yes, that promise is about Christ specifically, but it also declares a general war against children. Indeed, my thought is that before Christ each child born was a reminder that Jesus was coming, while today every child born is a reminder of Christ’s incarnation.
The Bible, of course, happily celebrates and values children. From the beginning, God commanded Adam and Eve to fill the earth with His image, which meant having many, many babies. Such fruitfulness under the affliction of Pharaoh was a sign of God’s providential favor upon the Israelites. Psalm 127 exults in the blessing of children, and Jesus famously rebuked His disciples for hindering children from coming to Him. What is more counter-cultural today than such a mindset?
That, in a nutshell, is why we will celebrate and pray over our children this Sunday. And since kids are on my mind and our journey through Part II of The Pilgrim’s Progress will not begin until September, I plan on using my Friday posts through August to spotlight some of my favorite children’s books and resources that I read with my daughters.