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Archive for December 27th, 2020

Christmas is most beautiful, most compelling through the eyes of children.

As this has been a more quiet, more reserved Christmas, I have found myself pondering moments of Christmas’ past, when our children were young. The excitement of going to bed on Christmas Eve, the placing of Jesus into the manger in our nativity, the checking of the ‘Santa tracker’ online, the awe with which they would admire colored lights, the thrills, the smiles, the joy.

The way children, naturally, express excitement over the Christmas season is addictive, creating a longing within our adult selves for that joy, that thrill of hope.

In his dystopian novel, That Hideous Strength, CS Lewis writes a conversation in which Denniston says to Jane :

“Everyone begins as a child by liking Weather. You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up. Noticed it on a snowy day? The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children – and the dogs? They know what snow’s made for.”

Like Lewis’ explanation of children loving all weather, whereas adults have ‘matured’ to be more differentiated in our opinions, so children approach Christmas with a unified joy and wonder that we adults have ‘matured’ beyond.

This brings me to a question …
have we matured?

In Matthew 18:3, Jesus says :

“… unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Then in Mark 10:15, he says :

“… whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.”

It is as if Jesus himself is saying, don’t grow up!

I am not sure that is necessarily the case in all areas, but I do think that his reminders to be like children is part of his turning the law and the societal norms of the day up-side-down. Not just then, in Jesus time on Earth, but for today as well, as we view children and childhood with limited views on life.

I love these verses in Romans 5:14-16 :

“For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.

It is the cry, “Abba Father” that catches me every time I read it.

Abba was not a word for a ruler, a dominator, a politician or king. Abba is an Aramaic term of endearment, much like Daddy. It is a term of great intimacy, closeness, security. It is a term used by children when things go bump in the night, when the door opens at the end of the day and little ones scurry to embrace their beloved, when eyes are heavy and a warm arms are sought in which to fall asleep in perfect peace.

Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in a commentary on Romans 8:5-17 says :

“Let us notice the word ‘cry’… we cry ‘Abba, Father.’ It is a very strong word, and clearly the apostle has used it quite deliberately. It means ‘a loud cry’ … it expresses deep emotion … It is the spontaneity of the child who sees the father … and not only spontaneity, but confidence.” 

We adults need to be childlike in our view of our Father God, who desires for us to seek him for intimacy, closeness and security … to seek him as Abba. And not just seek him, but cry out loudly for him.

May we learn through the beauty of how children, naturally, express excitement over the Christmas season. May we be childlike in our cries to Abba.

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