Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Words from Wednesday (Devotional)

Christmas in May

This past week, we asked my son to pick something special that he wanted to do for his birthday. We figured he would pick something like going to the swimming pool or going to the zoo. Those were fun things we have done together before (maybe once or twice), and he had been asking to do those things again. After thinking for a little bit, he said he wanted to set up the Christmas tree, “because that is what you get to do on special birthdays. Jesus has a special birthday and he gets a Christmas tree.”

My husband and I couldn’t help but laugh at such an innocent answer. Probably not going to happen . . . To pull out all those dust-covered boxes now . . . and I can just imagine what the neighbours would be saying . . .

But he has a point. A very good one. And he sure taught me a thing or two when I sat back and pondered his answer.

And I came up with two thoughts:
1. Thought Number One: Look at this verse in Psalm 8:2. “From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise.” Just on its own this verse spokes so much truth to me. Can you just sit back with me and imagine Jesus just embracing my son or sending a chorus of angels to celebrate him for “getting it?” For understanding in his own little mind, at his own little level, in his “theologically-challenged” way that Jesus is so special? And that he wants to be just like Jesus? And that he recognizes Jesus for who He is? In Matthew 21:14-16, Jesus gets angry in the temple because it had been made into a place for market and personal affairs. God wants it to be a house of prayer. They are making it a den of robbers. Only a few verses later, Jesus quoted this same passage to the high priests in response to their indignant attitude toward the people being healed and the children shouting praise to God in the temple. When I read this small passage, I felt it points out the contrast between how a child sees Christ and the way we as adults tend to carry on life without speaking of or even noticing the things that are praiseworthy. Look at the way those who were extended grace through healing and how those who didn’t have the self-consciousness to care about what the high priests thought were acting. They had it right! They were speaking the truth!
2. Thought Number Two: In Matthew 18, the disciples are trying to find out who might be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In verses 2-4 we read, “He [Jesus] called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Don’t we do that? We try to figure out if our life matters, if we are keeping up with the popular trends, the American dream, the best neighbours on the block, and we forget that all God wants of us is the innocent faith, just like that of a child. Not faith that has God all wrapped up in a box. Not a faith that has limits. Not faith that agrees with the status quo. He wants faith.

So today I pray for that same kind of faith. The faith that recognizes that a Christmas tree can be put up in May because it reminds me that Jesus is so special. I want the faith that will proclaim who God is in public settings without the fear of shame or embarrassment from my peers. I want the kind of faith that will heal me simply because I believed. I want the kind of faith that emits praise in all I do. I want the faith of a child.

Today I pray that God will humble me. I pray that I hear and see and smell and feel and taste my Lord in the same way a child would. I pray that I can be so bold as to ask for a Christmas tree for my birthday, too.

Other verses to look up: Matthew 18: 10, John 1:12-13 & Matthew 11:25

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