Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Child-Like Faith

As the Christmas season approaches, I tend to get excited. The essence of this time of year causes us to celebrate the joy of the season. The smells of cinnamon and nutmeg on a steaming hot cup of cocoa, to the warmth of a crackling fire while the ground outside is covered in a blanket of snow. The streets filled with holiday shoppers, the Christmas decorations laced throughout the stores, the soothing lulls of traditional Christmas carols add to the all around sense of what Christmas means. None more sacred than the story of Jesus' birth is the reason for all this celebration.

I wasn't brought up as a Christian, but I do remember attending Christmas Eve mass with my mother, which was such an awesome experience to be out late and the silent reverence of being inside a church with beautiful stained glass windows. I remember the stories of St. Nicholas but failed to catch the meaning of the Nativity except that it was simply something we got to place beneath our tree. I remember watching the Little Drummer Boy in the midst of all those children's Christmas movies that came out this time of year as well.

It seemed like that was my child-like idea growing up that Jesus was special. He was part of the divine and untouchable. He was to be worshiped and respect. I lacked the idea of what a true relationship with God was like until I became a Christian and got to know Him through the Bible and through celebrating Christmas much different than when I was a child.

Now I understand what child-like faith means. Jesus reminds us in Matthew 19:14, when the disciples rebuked those who had brought little children to Jesus. He reminds them, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these." This is that child-like faith Jesus is speaking of.

If you have young children, they have such incredible imaginations. You can tell them anything, and they won't question it, they simply take it on faith that it is. Ask any child if flying is possible, they will undoubtedly tell you it is. Without question. I remember believing when I was a child and saw Mary Poppins for the first time, that if I possessed an umbrella and opened it, I could literally float from a high place and be just fine. I tried it, from the roof of my house and I have to tell you, despite my child-like faith, it didn't work.

It's sad when reality dispels those child-like faith moments. When we learn that Santa isn't real, or that magic is just a slight of hand or illusion. That the moon really isn't made of cheese and fairy tales are simply stories of make-believe in a book. That wishes on stars sometimes come true, but more than often, they don't. Or we simply don't remember making them.

Jesus loved children, that is clear in everything we read in the Bible. Jesus sees value in children even though they haven't reached their potential just yet. Children approach life differently than we do. Just watch a child look at ants for the first time, that child-like sense of wonder and awe that they get as if they're seeing it for the first time. The reason is that they are. The first time watch an ant march across the sidewalk or a leaf falling from the tree, or a snowflake falling. Don't miss that moment. It's so rare to us because we've seen it all before. See it from their eyes.

Children aren't jaded by their opinion of the world yet. They are imaginative, light-hearted, humble, and adventurous. They are fearless, simply ask any parent, they will undoubtedly confirm that with a resounding YES!!!

So where does that child-like faith go?

Like Peter Pan fears, we simply grow up. Like my experience with an umbrella, we realize that the things we believe aren't true. Our expectations because jaded. We rationalize things, and lose our fear and sense of adventure, rationalizing the outcome before we even try. We hide things deep inside for fear of letting others see the real us. We begin playing it safe and settling for whatever life hands us. Rather than living by faith, we complicate things and get in our own way. We even try to prove our worth to God by doing things not by faith, but out of a sense of what we should be doing instead of letting our hearts lead us. We believe we are content, but are grasping at straws for trying to achieve that something more we believe might make us happy after all.

I believe we need to get our child-like faith back. Open ourselves up and letting people see us for how we are. To ask for help when we truly need it instead of pasting on our fake smiles and saying everything in our life is O.K. when it is falling apart. We need more than anything to believe in ourselves again like a child does. He never doubts whether he can do anything until he proves he can't. We need to remember that God didn't choose people to make a difference from the finest and most qualified people.

It's just the opposite. He chose flawed people. People like you and me, that doubted themselves. People like David, a lowly shepherd but whom would be crowned King, slay a giant no one else would, and from his descendants would come the greatest gift to the world. 1 Corinthians 1:27 puts it all into perspective, "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong."

Isn't it time to discover our child-like faith again and go out with God's help and do something incredibly amazing and stop letting the world dictate what we are capable of. I believe in you, imagine what possibilities might exist if you tried, knowing you would never fail? What would you do?

More importantly...

Why aren't you?

1 comment:

David C Brown said...

It's little children who enter the kingdom of God.