I love this time of year, but I do miss having little ones whose joy and anticipation about Christmas is irresistibly contagious. We have never done a ton of gifts (Jesus got three and that was our model), so I have not felt crazy pressure to go nuts like some people. Plus if you put a drivable toy Jeep next to the tree for a three year old, you don’t need anything else! And as my sons have gotten older, we’ve tried to make it less about stuff and more about experiences. For example, Sam got tickets to a Houston Rockets game (they were playing the Orlando Magic) a few years back. But I do miss the excitement and the happy dancing eyes that are unique to little children.
Little children are special. Jesus certainly thought so. Not only did he correct His disciples when they assumed He was too busy for them, He also said: “Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:17). Have you received — by no merit or effort of your own — the kingdom of God like a child? I hope so.
I was talking to one of my closest friends a few weeks back. She was telling me that she thinks of herself as having a simple, childlike faith. She was actually not saying this to pay herself a compliment. In fact, almost the opposite. Her phrasing sounded more like she was in some way criticizing her own lack of profundity. Ahh, but that Oswald Chambers quote I used last week applies again. We need to be mindful of not posing as profound people: “God became a Baby.” Plus, I told her that her childlike faith is a gift from God that was born out of suffering. I told her to never let anyone demean the gift she has. In so many words I said, “It’s not a matter of being some kind of simpleton. Your faith is a rare blessing sometimes bestowed on those who’ve known tremendous loss.” Do you know an adult who exemplifies childlike faith? I bet the person who jumps to mind hasn’t lived the easiest life.
This Advent may we spend time soaking in the wonder of the miracle of Jesus’ birth. May we have lots of interactions with little children who are so eager to believe, and may we recognize and treasure the adults in our midst who readily receive the Kingdom of God just like a little child. And may we pray continually that God will make us more like them both.
How can you make room in your life to better receive the fullness of God’s Kingdom? How can you remind yourself that the goal isn’t uppity profundity but the trusting faith of a child?
Have a fabulous weekend!
P.S. I can’t resist adding what a person of childlike faith is not. They are not controlled by fear. They are not constantly concerned about what other people do, don’t do, say or think. They are not frenetic in their pace, but can linger over simple pleasures. They are not consumed by hate or rage. They do not look down on others as inferior. I’m sure we could make a pretty lengthy list. What other habit or quality does not characterize a person of childlike faith?