But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
It’s almost Christmas time, a time of year for children. The bright lights, sitting on Santa’s lap cookies, presents, and more, make this a magical time of year for children. You notice though in A Christmas Carol Scrooge is not a child, but an adult. An adult, who like many, sees Christmas as lots of work, wrapping presents, spending money, time off of work, cleaning the house, decking the halls mess of stress. BAH HUMBUG!!! There is no magic in humbug, no joy, at best there is cynicism.
Jesus says to his disciples have faith like a child. It’s a strange saying, because I can’t think of many circumstances where that would be wise counsel. If you ran your business more like a child, if you parented more like a child, if you handled your money more like a child. None of those would be good places to act like a child. But Jesus says when it comes to faith, we need to have faith more like children, why is that?
I believe that for many adults, over time we have become Scrooges in our faith. We started to follow God, and there was mystery, joy, and passion. This was great, we posted Philippians 4:13 on twitter, “I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” Then as we grew we would read that verse and think that verse is not about me. God can do things through SOME people SOMEtimes, but not me, not anything special. The magic of grace that says God forgave us all although we did nothing to deserve it; becomes a cold calculation, if you do that for me, then I will do this for you, I might forgive you, but I might hold a grudge.
I believe Jesus tells us to have faith like a child because children think more like God. They are not stuck on the way it was, they are not constrained by logic, they can dream big, and live in the moment, instead of being held captive by what was, or what is still to come. They can believe that God can do ANYTHING. My challenge to you is to celebrate this Christmas season as children do. Filled with wonder, so you might take time to read the Christmas Story (Luke 2:1-21, Matthew 2:1-12), and take in all the drama and wonder of Jesus’ arrival. Extend grace and thanksgiving to people and in circumstances that you might not otherwise, do a random act of kindness for someone, or share God’s love with some of the difficult people in your life. Maybe for this season we can stop acting like rational, calculated adults, and be a little more like a child in our faith, as Jesus called us to be.