Is there anything quite like Christmas morning with little kids? The level of energy they bring to the living room is enough to wake up even the most exhausted parents. You know, those of us who barely had time to close an eye after assembling, wrapping, and putting presents under the tree until 3 am.
Who needs coffee? The anticipation our kids have for opening presents is its own caffeine. Followed by the squeals of delight as the most coveted items on their Santa wish list become visual beneath torn wrappings.
Such unbridled joy permeates the air with something sweeter than the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. The infectious mood causes time to stand still, allowing us to breathe a little deeper and experience contentment, even if our world is broken and falling apart around us. Joy tends to still the chaos, fill the heart, and brighten the soul. Thank goodness for the children and their altruistic spreading of such a hope-filled emotion.
What better time to reflect on the power of joy than Christmas when we celebrate the birth of our Savior. Perhaps something even more powerful and profound than we imagined explains why Jesus came into the world 2000 years ago as a child. What if God sent His only son to walk among us as a full-grown adult instead? How would that have changed history?
I’ve pondered these questions in the quiet of my heart recently. While I’m no theologian, I’ve come to believe the symbolic nature of a child Jesus may carry an important lesson about joy. Babies evoke joy in us by their mere presence. The oohs and ahhs continue as we observe children navigate their tiny worlds. Jesus undoubtedly spread the same childlike goodwill during his formative years, bringing joy to everyone around Him.
As an adult, Jesus tells His followers and all of us to become like little children once again if we want to enter the kingdom of Heaven. It seems we need to re-awaken to the joyful spirit of our child-self in order to see the world around us in all its excitement, wonder, and splendor.
Just imagine if the contagious spirit of joy that kids project could filter into our adult selves on a more regular basis. What if we began our days with giddy anticipation over the gifts God has set before us? What would the outburst of delight after having received His blessings look like? We can be certain that such an outlook would drastically change the emotional landscape of our present world for the better.
Sadly, there are days I can barely muster the energy to function, let alone look forward to the blessings God has tucked away in special places. In my doldrum, I’m guaranteed to leave countless presents unopened, thus taking away God’s delight in me finding them.
Not sure about you but thinking about God missing out on experiencing joy over His adoring and gift-giving—the same joy we experience in loving our children—makes my heart hurt. Stealing such a precious exchange of love from the Father leaves me feeling altogether empty.
Maybe we can try to soak up some extra joy this Christmas by paying close attention to the children around us. Even if our kids are grown or we don’t have kids of our own, we can adore from afar the children we see while going about our days. Observing any little one is sure to bring a smile to our face and melt away whatever is bringing us down—even if for a moment.
LOVE came into the world as a child 2000 years ago, and He’s here to stay. His presence is all around us, but sometimes we simply need the spirit of a child to help us see.
Have a JOYFUL Christmas!