Children are precious little gifts to the world. My thoughts have rested upon children the last several days as Christmas time has again come upon us. My two children have exited those years wherein Christmas carried with it the air of dreaminess and wonder. For so many years when they were younger, Christmas time revolved around them (insert your snarky comment here about how Christmas is supposed to be about Jesus). The Lyles keep Jesus pretty front-and-center twelve months out of the year, so Christmas time always had a special touch concerning our kids when they were little. Nowadays, we feel a little in-between as we wait for the golden era of grand-babies to find us. Amy likes to decorate the house early in the season and I like to take the lights and stuff down as early as possible after Christmas Day comes and goes. Honestly, I find it a personal challenge to keep myself in the holiday mood during Christmas. I wish it were different. I’m penning some thoughts below to help myself with this dilemma. Maybe they will help others too.
My adult friends, let me gently encourage us to retain a child’s sense of wonder in life. Deadlines, duties, and distractions tend to fill my calendar before I even get a chance to vote on the events of the week. I have long since abandoned the notion that my life is intended to be carefree and easy…yet what of the undesirable possibility that, because of my deadlines, duties and distractions, I mistakenly think myself to be exempt from delight? Because of life’s demands, have we truly lost the opportunity to experience lasting and fueling joy? I choose not to believe so. Christmastime calls me to do an evaluation and ask me if I am too grown-up to exhale and re-engage childlike wonder. For many of us there is a dynamic of faith which demands that we pull the diamond of joy out of the coal pile of pressures. Faith discovers the radiance of preciousness in the midst of life’s have-to’s. When I watch my children with Amy, I am instructed about what it means to live appropriately carefree. My children trust their mother implicitly. There is no sense of hesitation in them to ask of their mother whatever they desire. They have a formula engraved in their young hearts that Jesus taught us adults to retain: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened for you.” If we aren’t careful, we will deliberate instead of asking, hesitate instead of seeking and evacuate instead of knocking. I reckon we could learn a little from all those grimy-faced little seven-year-old children who occasionally say with no guile, “Gimmee!”
May God grant us all a strong and abiding sense of His very near presence today. Get up and get moving, and look for someone whom you might bless today.
Take great satisfaction in being unusually kind to somebody who could never repay it.
Smile in the mirror a few times before you leave the house.
Smile really big – make your face hurt. Pretend you just got your teeth whitened and go advertise your shine.
Give away some portion of your life today, and look for an opportunity to deny yourself something you think you well deserve.
Sing loudly every chance you get today. Be like Will Ferrel’s Buddy the Elf from that modern Christmas classic. He was so jolly and full of wonder that it was nearly annoying. Nearly, but not quite.
Sip your coffee and meditate on one or two Scriptures this morning instead of guzzling your cup of Joe and breezing through an entire chapter of God’s Word.
Please don’t forget to listen for Him when you pray this morning. He has things to say too. God smiles upon those who delight in Him, so listen hard for His smile and then embrace it when it comes.
Christmas is good.
Grace is good.
Children are good.
Being saved is good.
Let’s pray for one another, that we never lose the wonder of all of that goodness.