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Wide-eyed Wonder!



Jesus had a heart for children. In a world where children were second-class citizens that should be “seen and not heard,” Jesus invited children to come to Him and encouraged His followers to have childlike faith.


We see the heart of Jesus in these beautiful words:

 

Jesus called a little one to his side and said to them,“Learn this well: Unless you dramatically change your way of thinking and become teachable, and learn about heaven’s kingdom realm with the wide-eyed wonder of a child, you will never be able to enter in.”

Matthew 18:2-4 (TPT)

 

I spent last week babysitting my 3-year-old grandson. It was a wonderful week filled with lots of adventures and activities. He displayed that wide-eyed wonder as we went to the museum and dug for dinosaur bones, saw a “big red truck!” and so many other amazing things that caught his attention and made him run to next thing as fast as he could.  His boundless energy reminded me why we have kids when we are young, but it was so fun to witness firsthand his willingness to learn and experience new things.

 

I saw the teachable spirit that Jesus talked about, and our week together made me realize that kids have much to teach us about Christmas as well. Whether you buy into the whole Santa thing or not, you cannot deny how excited children get during this season. They are exploding with anticipation for those shiny new gifts under the tree. They’ve carefully written their Christmas letters to Santa, they're trying so very hard to not be naughty but nice, and they’ve made sure the cookies and milk are waiting by the tree.

 

It’s been a lot longer than I care to admit, but I remember like it was yesterday how excited I got for Christmas as a little girl. It was always impossible to go to sleep on Christmas Eve. I was told Santa would not come unless I was sleeping, as I’m sure you were told as well, and it was a struggle to turn my little mind off and do as I was told. The anticipation was overwhelming. I had no doubt that Santa was going to come and bring that new toy I couldn’t live without, and the thrill of it all was uncontainable.

 

Oh, to have the wide-eyed wonder of a child!

 

Although the focus of their anticipation may be different, the level of their faith that gifts will indeed come and the absolute joy they display as they open those gifts is infectious and inspiring.

 

When we become adults, our anticipation of Christmas can often be vastly different. Instead of it being filled with joy and wonder, we stress about the parties, the gifts, the cards, and trying to juggle schedules so we can gather our families together.


And sometimes things simply don’t go according to plan! I know I’m experiencing a tinge of sadness this year because, in spite of all my rigorous attempts to get all four boys and their significant others together at the same time, it is utterly impossible this year because of conflicting schedules.

 

And instead of staying in a place of disappointment, I am working hard to dramatically change my way of thinking and channel some of that childlike, Biblical anticipation. Biblical anticipation is described as getting ready for what God has told you will come. It’s faith in motion. It’s grabbing onto the promises of God by faith, not by sight. I instantly think about Noah and the ark and also Abraham and Sarah waiting for their promised child. Now, that’s Godly anticipation!

 

And we have so much to anticipate during this beautiful season. Jesus came to earth as a child in the humblest of ways, and He came to show us firsthand how much God wants a relationship with us. As we study the Gospels, we can discover for ourselves the living, breathing, life-giving expression of God’s love in the flesh...Immanuel, God with us! Jesus displayed and modeled that love in every aspect of His short life.

 

As I shift my focus from all I have to do in this busy season and instead choose to anticipate the celebration of the birth of Jesus and what that means for me, I desire to receive this gift with the wide-eyed wonder of a child. I want to unwrap it and cherish it with excitement and awe. I want to “dramatically change my way of thinking and become teachable” as I focus my attention on getting to know this precious gift more and more by spending time in His presence. I choose to open my heart and allow the Light of the World that came to save me from my sins get deeper and deeper into my spirit.

 

So I ask you, my friend, how are you approaching Christmas? Is your heart filled with childlike anticipation of the greatest gift you will ever receive, or are you too busy and distracted to even think about and ponder this Immanuel, God with us?

 

Perhaps you’re like me and it’s a little bit of both.

 

Maybe, just for a moment, we can choose to have a teachable, open-hearted spirit like a child and get excited about the deeper meaning of this jam-packed season.

 

I promise you this: Christmas will look very different if we choose wide-eyed wonder as we anticipate the birth of our Savior.

 

My wish for all of us is that we open our hearts to this life-giving gift and feel the love of Jesus in the deepest part of our souls!


Now THAT will be a Merry Christmas!

 

Hugs and love,

 

Jill

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