[Thanks to Danielle Fullarton for guest writing this thoughtful piece!]
There is no doubting that Christmas is the season of children. Whether you have children of your own or are just a child at heart yourself, there is a palpable excitement in the air whenever a child is nearby at Christmastime. Their infectious joy is hard to ignore.
Carols, nativities, presents, mountains of chocolate, eat-until-you-burst mince pies, tinsel, all in celebration of one thing – a child.
Two millennia ago the Jewish nation was waiting for an all-conquering warrior, but God decided to bestow the world with the gift of a child, His very own child, Jesus. So helpless, so meek; was this really what the world needed?
Indeed it was. Being born to Mary and Joseph in a filthy stable fulfilled the prophecy in Isaiah (9:7) that the Messiah would be born in the line of King David, a genealogy that is well documented.
“Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and for ever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”
Jesus did not appear out of the blue proclaiming to be the Son of God, as so many have erroneously done since, but he was brought up in a family known to the surrounding community, who could give testament to his sound character.
But coming to this earth as a child also allowed him to experience a full life.. He would have known what it was to play with his friends, to be excited about important celebrations in the Jewish calendar, to be part of a family dynamic, he would have seen, if not experienced, the angst of youth. So when Jesus said we should have faith like a child in order to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:2-4) and instructed His disciples to, “let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matthew 19:14) He fully understood the weight of what He was saying. If God had sent the champion that the Jews were expecting, would the lessons of meekness, gentleness and submissiveness have been as well received? It is a common saying that you have to walk a mile in somebody’s shoes before you can appreciate what they are going through, well Jesus was the man that walked in the shoes of all of humanity, and can fully understand what everyone is going through, young and old.
In this age of cynicism and disregard of faith, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could capture that pure simplicity and open-armed message of the Gospel in the way that a child does? If we could come before our heavenly Father with a mind unprejudiced by the world and admit that, although we may not have all the answers, our child-like faith is all that we need? Not in naivety, or gullibility but in complete openness to His will.
Maybe this Christmas we could join the children in their unquenchable excitement and the thrill of the season, not just in anticipation of Christmas gifts but in the opportunity to celebrate the birth of the baby, Christ Jesus, who came to the earth as an infant, called us to believe in Him with the heart of a child and reigns on high now and for evermore.