Friday, December 25, 2009

Be like a child

There is something about a child.




I sit here on this Christmas morning in one of my favorite seats in the house.  Mine is the only chair that gets to look the other five members of my family in the eye as we dine at this bar – my wife and four kids.

I also have a beautiful view out of the front and back windows of our home at the winter storm that rages on this Christmas that has us holed up in our own home – just our family and no one else.  The beauty of the snow is breathtaking, but as I sit here with a little background music, my wife running around doing this or that, all kids are tucked in the basement watching a movie.

And so, for a few minutes, I have quiet in one of my favorite seats – and I can see each face as I look at their respective chairs around this island.  The beauty of the snow is one thing, the images I see as I imagine them sitting here with me is quite another.

Those images evoke feelings that only a parent can understand.  Love, laughter, irritation, pride, thankfulness – and those are just a few.

God knew the power of the child, too, didn’t he?

“Today, in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord,” it reads in Luke 2:11.

This child was conceived of the Holy Spirit, to a child, who would raise the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords.  From the beginning of time, this Jesus we celebrate today was innocent, dependent and reliant.  So was his mother, the teenager whom God chose to carry and give birth to our Savior.

As Jesus grew and grew, he remained innocent all the way to the point of death on a cross, fulfilling his purpose for living.  He was dependent on his Father and reliant upon that same Father to teach, live a life that is an example for us to live by, and to complete his mission.

Children were important to Jesus, too.

In the gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke these words were recorded:  “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14)

Let the little children come to me.  But why?  What was so special to Jesus about these children?

It is that innocence, dependence and reliance that enables a child to hear the message and to receive the gift – the GIFT – that is Jesus and all that he affords us.

Children don’t have the weight of the world on their shoulders.  They haven’t lived long enough to see the world at its ugliest.  In most cases, they are still innocent.

It is that mentality in which Jesus hopes the Gift to be received.  He requires, it in fact.

“I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”  Matthew 18:3-4

As I went through the photos that were shot while we opened our gifts night before last, several pictures jumped off the computer at me and I wanted to share them with you.  These words from Matthew jumped out at me, as did some of the words from Luke 2.

The amazement, excitement and wonder expressed in the eyes and expression of a child while opening a gift is a sight to behold.

As the angel of the Lord appeared to them and and was later joined by the choir of angels who sang “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests,” I see our four year old Anna looking in wonder.

(Anna as if to say "What?")

After hurrying to Bethlehem to find Mary, Joseph and Jesus lying in the manger, I can see her looking in amazement that what the angel and prophets had foretold had actually came true.

(Anna surprised at her gift)

And this last image, this is the image that I love the most.  It is this picture that I pray sticks with you – it is this image of child-like innocence, dependence, reliance and excitement that will allow us to live life to the full, as Jesus declared in John 10:10.

(Anna opening one of her presents)

Each day as we unwrap the Gift that is a new day, may we open it with the excitement of a child.  May we live each day with that child-like faith – relying and depending on Father, Son and Holy Spirit in all we do. 

I fall woefully short of this mark, but it is the mark I aspire to.  May we become like children this Christmas and accept anew the Gift each day we are allowed to walk the face of this earth.

Merry Christmas!  (Alex opening the new Bible we gave him)


patty said...

*wiping misty eyes*
Thank you, Chris for your beautiful reflections & observations and for sharing pictures of your sweet daughter.
Innocence, dependence, it and want more of it.

Jennifer @ Getting Down With Jesus said...

What a beautiful post. What sweet photos. It's a joy to peek in on your family as you follow Jesus. Thank you for sharing this touching story, Chris. And yes, the images will stick with me.

Happy New Year to you and yours.