Christmas is the holiday most likely to bring out the child in all of us, even those of us who know Santa started laughing at our wish lists long ago unable to help. There seems to be anÂ awe, a sense of wonder and, dare I say,Â “magic” to the holidays. There is anticipation and hope of what is to come.
So in some ways it didn’t surprise me when God began pointing out my need, our need, to be childlike. What did catch me off guard, and pain my ego, is the difference between being childish and being childlike.
Reference Matthew 18: 1-5.Â The disciples were being childish jostling amongst themselves in a way that proclaimed “Me first,” “I’m important,” “Hey, Look at me and what I’ve done!”Â They were being childish vying for the number one spot as greatest in the Kingdom. At the core of being childish is being selfish and I am the chief of sinners, part of the Generation Me crowd.
Then Jesus shocks them all. He picks up a small child to place on His lap and says to be the greatest you have to have the humility of this little one. What?!
I have thought a lot about this lately and this is where it has led me.
Children live fully in the moment. Nothing is impossible in their eyes until we tell them otherwise. They see the world through a lens of infinite possibilities, with awe and wonder, which I would certainly do well to emulate. Then when you begin to look around at the amazing magnitude of beauty, detail, creativity, you begin to recognize how huge God is… and how itty, bitty you are.
Children are dependent and so are we. Whether we acknowledge it or not, we are all dependent on God just as a babe is dependent on someone to care for his/her needs. It reminds me of an old song with the lyrics, “I can’t even walk without You holding my hand.”
Which should lead us to a place of trust. If we see how big, how caring, how articulate God is and we recognize how weak and dependent we really are then it should bring us to a place of running into the arms of the Father, knowing that He is good and He alone is our strength, provision, salvation, etc.
Then there is anticipation. Just as children anticipate the joys of Christmas morning and the world anticipated the first coming of Christ (though they had the wrong expectations), if we are being childlike we find that we are in a constant state of anticipation. We hope and long for the day of Jesus’ return, but we also anticipate that He will show up in the day to day, the mundane moments of life, and transform them into places where Heaven touches earth even if for a moment.
In what way is God giving you the opportunity to walk out a childlike humility and faith today instead of throwing a childish fit?