i want to grow up to be a child

One time Jesus picked up a little kid and said, “I’ll tell you the truth. Unless you change and become like this little kid, you’ll never get into the kingdom of heaven. You’ll never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

I want to grow up to be a child. I do. I’m not talking about being childish—just childlike—childlike in my trust. Childlike in my dependence upon God, childlike in my hope, childlike in my thankfulness, childlike in my love, my wonder, my worship and my joy. I want to grow up and be a child.

As I watch kids during Christmas it reminds me of several reasons that I want to do that. Have you ever noticed that kids have just mastered the art of living in the “right now”? They just live right now. They’re not stressing out about tomorrow. They’re not focused on what happened yesterday or didn’t happen yesterday. They’re just enjoying the right now, right now. They’re living in the moment.

They understand that someone once said, “Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.” Every moment that we are alive is a gift from the hand of the gracious God. And this very moment, right now, is the very best one we are going to see because every moment is the moment we have right now.

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why they call it the present.

Because of that I want to grow up to be a child.

(This entry is a small piece of my Christmas message from 12/23/07. The full message can be listened to from relaxedchurch.com after the above date. Discover a few of the things we can do to grow up to be a child.)

i can’t get it out of my mind

strings of lights, inflated Santas, Christmas music, hectic shoppers, office parties, endless decorations. they’re everywhere. it must be Christmas, or soon will be. for some reason, though, there is this conspicuous absence of the one whose birthday we are celebrating. what a strange celebration. all the parties and decorations and gifting, but where is the guest of honor? did someone forget to invite him? was he not able to make it? is he out of the country or out of the world?

for some reason there is something i can’t get out of my mind. it is the simple thought, “it’s about Jesus.” if Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus, isn’t it about Jesus? then where’s Jesus? let’s play a game like “where’s Waldo” only this time let’s play “where’s Jesus?” he seems to be much more difficult to find than Waldo.

now, i don’t want to be a weirdo or fanatic or some-in-your face kind of person, but don’t you think it would be good for us to somehow find Jesus in all our Christmas activity, celebration and madness if it’s really about him?

could i invite you to come up with a creative way to say to the people in your life, it’s about Jesus. don’t do anything weird or religious that will make people think you are one of those “Jesus freaks.” but just some subtle and creative way to say, “it’s about Jesus.” and that doesn’t mean run to the closest Christan bookstore and buy one of those “Jesus is the reason for the season” pins or bumper stickers.

my wife and i do it with nativities. we have a very “elegantly” decorated house. we use all clear lights on the outside with lighted wreaths in each window. then in the front yard we have just one Christmas decoration. it is a large nativity scene. i actually bought it at Sams after Christmas a couple years ago for a steal. or should i say, for a bargain. this year i added a few extra touches with a platform, and a mounted star. i got tired of repairing the pieces when the wind toppled them over and smashed them against each other. last year i had to reattach baby Jesus’ leg after one of those storms. not this year, they are anchored down.

nativities are our way of saying “it’s about Jesus.” we have people slowing down as they pass all the time to take a longer look. and when you enter our house you will find about a dozen nativities in one form or another. a few are readily obvious. others you have to try a little harder to locate, like the Christmas tree ornament ones and the fireplace skirt one. some are with black figures, some are handmade porcelain, others are cheap and old. but they are there making a statement to any Christmas time guests “it’s about Jesus.”

and to tell you the truth, we are passing the statement on to our children. we have given all three sons and daughter-in-laws, in the last few years, their own nice nativities. we want to encourage our kids to make the same statement to their friends and guests, “it’s about Jesus.”

so back to the challenge. how will you creatively say to the people in your life this and every Christmas, “it’s about Jesus?” hurry, not much time left.