“O little one, be welcome here!” The atmosphere in the hall is solemn as this year’s newcomers are brought up in front of the church by their proud parents.
By: Karen-Birgitte Storm Leth – Photo: Lydia Ødegård
It’s Sunday, and members of BCC’s local church in Sandefjord, Norway, have come together at Torp conference center. “It’s Jesus who exhorts us to bless the children, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these,” says Svein Kronstad, who smilingly welcomes the parents who come forward, wishing to have God’s and the church’s blessing on their children. Kronstad prays for each child individually, and he also prays for the parents, that they can find the way in their task of being good caregivers for their children.
They should feel the care and love
“Jesus took the children to Himself and blessed them, even though the disciples wanted to push them away.” Kronstad quotes from the gospel of Mark, chapter ten. “It may well be that they thought the children were a little troublesome, but Jesus saw it quite differently,” explains Kronstad. “Jesus really cared about the children, and in the church the children are welcome!”
One of the mothers, Ruth Sandberg, says this is a solemn and important day for them as parents. “We want our children to feel the care and love, and the church is a great help for us in the work as parents. Here we get good advice and we have friends who genuinely care about our children. It is absolutely invaluable to us.” Ruth and Vegard have three children and are happy for the help and guidance they can get in the task as parents.
“Nothing should prevent us from loving and being good to our children,” says Vegard. “We must remember that children are different, and that each child should receive individual care and follow-up.” Today little Ulrik was in Kronstad’s arms and got the blessing of the whole church. He’s number three of family Sandberg’s children.
We must admit that there were tears in our eyes at the thought of the great gift that children are, and how important it is that they experience goodness and security. And the admonitions from the podium make an impression. “There are many children who suffer and are hurting, also in the western part of the world. Many are lonely and afraid, and we read about child abuse, which destroys children’s souls. Our calling, however, is to make sure the children’s surroundings are safe and secure. Let them know that there are hearts that burn for them, who will take care of them and give them a good and safe life,” exhorts Kronstad.
Be good role models
Peter Gangsø is one of those who has good, encouraging advice for the assembly. His clear appeal to the congregation is: “Parents and grandparents, be in the fight, and pray for the young people, let them know that you are for them!” He also has advice for the older children and youths: “You who are children and young people, resist temptations, as Jesus taught us with the life He lived when He was here on earth. And remember that your friends here are praying for you, where you are, both in school and in your free time.”
We who are present and experience an occasion like this, get the desire to live as good role models and caregivers of children who are growing up strengthened. “A fantastic focus to have with you in the day-to-day life!”