A recent conversation with friends left me thinking about a difference between how my son Ezra and I encounter the world. I approach my day; Ezra receives the day.
I make decisions about how to prioritize and spend my time, whether at work or at home. When I have personal time I weigh options in my head and make a decision to go do something. Ezra receives the world with the wonder of a child. Something catches his eye and he is off and crawling. For all the determination of his movement, when he arrives at a new object of enchantment he often stretches out a timid pointer finger to touch and to test.
It’s common this time of the year to remark on the wonder of a child’s face reflected in the lights and traditions of Christmas. Many a child has led grown-ups to pause and to ponder the wonder of God’s coming to our world in the baby Jesus.
As the prophets attested through generations, for all our striving and conniving humankind could not bring about the Kingdom of justice and peace, much less the salvation of God. The good news of the Christ-child can only be received as a gift, cradled in our hearts, an object of wonder making pointer fingers timid.
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite quotes, from G.K. Chesterton’s 1908 book, Orthodoxy, which, despite the dry title, is probably the most purely delightful theological book I’ve read.
“A child kicks his legs rhythmically through excess, not absence, of life. Because children have abounding vitality, because they are in spirit fierce and free, therefore they want things repeated and unchanged. They always say, ‘Do it again’; and the grown-up person does it again until he is nearly dead. For grown-up people are not strong enough to exult in monotony. But perhaps God is strong enough to exult in monotony. It is possible that God says every morning, ‘Do it again’ to the sun; and every evening, ‘Do it again’ to the moon. It may not be automatic necessity that makes all daisies alike; it may be that God makes every daisy separately, but has never got tired of making them. It may be that He has the eternal appetite of infancy; for we have sinned and grown old, and our Father is younger than we.”