A childlike faith

While teaching his disciples the importance of a humble heart, Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).

I have noticed a lot of things about myself during the coronavirus pandemic, but one of them has been my tendency to revert back to things that promise comfort and simplicity during uncertain times.

At the beginning of the pandemic, I couldn’t watch anything but funny, lighthearted cartoons. Give me slapstick humor and animation, I didn’t need to think about anything more dramatic than that.

As time has passed, I’ve been able to cycle back in a steady amount of regular tv and movies (although you won’t find me watching Contagion or Pandemic anytime soon), but I definitely find myself holding onto things that brought me comfort as a child—whether that be the Amy Grant Christmas album we used to listen to while putting up the tree, or a walk to a familiar nearby orchard with my mom.

Instead of reaching for books of extreme literary prowess and complicated prose, I find myself reaching for the fun mystery or the lighthearted yet uncomplicated love story. They may not be the most influential works of literature ever produced, but after a steady stream of frightening news, it’s nice to pick up something or do something that makes you remember what it was like to be a wide-eyed kid, with complete trust that everything was going to be alright.

For this same reason, some people (including myself) enjoy a good Hallmark Channel Christmas movie. We know the plot is simple, we know the characters are cheesy, and we absolutely know what will happen in the end—but, I think, that may just be the draw of it. There is something comforting in knowing what is going to happen, in the familiarity of it all, especially at a time when we can’t say that about very much.

Can we approach the Christmas season in a similar way? Let’s lean into all the joy of it, just like we did as children. May our eyes grow wide at the imperfect perfectness of our freshly cut Christmas tree, and our hearts lift as each light comes to life.

When Jesus welcomed the children to Him in Matthew 19:13-15, he admired their complete trust. Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).

Can we have the same trust, even during these uncertain times? And what does that childlike faith look like for us? Perhaps it’s that cartoon, or that movie, or that song that brings you back to a happy memory. There aren’t parties to plan this year, and not as many eyes will be gazing upon our lights display, so what will we use that time to focus on instead?

There is so much that is difficult and scary and complicated in the world today. We all know the Christmas story…and we know what is going to happen, in fact that is the very basis of our faith. That should bring us comfort and joy this season!