Easter Countdown #4 – A childlike faith
I tell you the truth, you must accept the kingdom of God as if you were a child, or you will never enter it. Luke 18:17 NCV
In the past week, I have had basically the same conversation with two very different individuals. One was a sweet 12-year-old girl that I know, and the other was my equally as sweet 82-year-old grandmother, affectionately known as Nanny. The conversation was about Easter traditions and favorite activities. What struck me was the fact that both shared the exact same heart.
When I asked my 6th grade friend what her favorite part of Easter was, she proclaimed enthusiastically, “The egg hunt!”. She then went on to elaborate that she loves to wake up with wide-eyed wonder to find baskets and get ready for church. She shared with me that she was dismayed that many of her friends and classmates didn’t share her passion for simply enjoying the moment. She didn’t understand why everyone was in a hurry to grow up so fast, and in her words “be too cool for Easter”. Her words really touched me, because 30 years ago, I would have been that little girl.
Fast forward a couple days to when I phoned my Nanny, she asked what we were doing this week. I replied that we were preparing for Easter. We reminisced about the last Easter we spent together and dyeing eggs with my kids. (The one thing she failed to mention is her passion for eggs means there better be enough for her to dye as many as everybody else.) We laughed about all the fun memories we had with egg-dyeing over the years. Within seconds, she announced, “Even though, I’m goin’ be by myself this year, I’m goin’ to the store and get me a dozen eggs. And yes sir, I am goin’ dye each one of them – even if I throw ‘em out later.” I just had to smile, because 40 years from now, I want to be that girl. This Southern lady who is comfortable and confident in who she is that she doesn’t mind doing something that her peers think childish or a waste of time – seeing as she has no one to share the joy with her this year.
Today, the Easter season is that transportable moment for me. I wake up dreaming of walking to that tomb only to discover my Jesus isn’t there. He conquered death and proved gloriously that he was and is and is to come, exactly who He said he was. The rebirth of Spring only adds to my excitement as I daily count how many tulips have popped open, which area of grass is prospering, what garden plants are returning, and which trees are budding. I am carried by my imagination to Easters past of white patent leather shoes, little white gloves and Easter bonnets, every time this season comes to call. Oh and the hymns, I get almost giddy thinking about singing, “Because He lives”. I love it!
Wouldn’t it be amazing if we looked at each new day and each new experience through the eyes of my two incredibly amazing friends? I believe that is exactly what we are asked to do in both Mark and Luke. We need to be able to lose our jaded-ness and grown-up tendencies, and submit to the childlike wonder and awe that each creation and each situation was given to us by God. Childlike faith lets us not be too big for ourselves and our ideas – like my little friend who wanted to enjoy Easter. Childlike faith lets you act with abandon on occasion to do something that brings you joy – just like my Nanny. Childlike faith lets you realize that God the father, who loves you very much, delights in seeing you happy.
Take-away: What is something that you can do – just for you – in the next couple days that would bring you to childlike joy? As much as I love Easter, I have a few other things that I love that bring me right back to childhood no matter where I am. Even if you can’t act on childlike joy immediately, make a list of those things. Here are a few of mine: running through the sprinklers, lying on the grass watching the stars, drinking from the garden hose, blowing bubbles, collecting clams on the beach, digging in soil to plant anything, listening for the ice cream truck, and my all time favorite – catching lightning bugs in jars. If you are bold (or should I say childlike enough), please post a couple of yours – I would love to know what brings you joy!