Children are precious little gifts to the world. My thoughts have rested upon children the last several days as Christmastime has fully engulfed us all again. My young son, Landon, was unusually affectionate with me towards the end of the week and it did us some good just to cuddle with each other and talk. I don’t know if it is because I’ve been gone more than usual lately but he kept telling me how much he loved me and, rather than kicking me in the legs and punching my Yuletide gut as he normally does, he just crawled into my lap and sat with me. These moments will vanish in the upcoming years so I milked it for all I could. Alicia is always willing to give affection and she and I enjoy reciprocating daddy-daughter love as often as possible. Amy and I finally got some uninterrupted time together for the first time since my returning from overseas, so I suppose I am feeling whole again. My family keeps me grounded concerning the most essential things of life.
Last Sunday night was Meadow’s annual children’s Christmas play. The little ones were swarming all over the sanctuary as they put their best into the program. There is a married couple at Meadow that hazards their mental health each year by coordinating the play and somehow pulling off a great performance every year in the big presentation. Hundreds gather each year and cameras are flashing, video rolling, laughter spilling out as a strong layering of joy and satisfaction fills our hearts as we fix our eyes upon…children.
My all-grown-up-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’ve long since abandoned the notion that my life is intended to be carefree and easy. Yet, what of the thought that, because of my deadlines, duties and distractions, I am exempt from delight? Have I truly lost the opportunity to experience lasting and fueling joy? I’ve chosen not to believe so. 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 I am instructed about what it means to live appropriately carefree. My children trust their father 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 are not careful we will deliberate instead of asking, hesitate instead of seeking and frustrate instead of knocking. I reckon we could learn a little from a dirty faced little four year old who says 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 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 deserve. Sing loudly every chance you get today. 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 honor Him so listen hard for His smile and then embrace it when it comes. Christmas is good. Children are good. God is good.
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