The other day, our daughter plucked a Christmas card off the kitchen bench and brought it over to me.
“What’s this, Mummy?” she asked.
“That’s a Christmas card,” I said.
“Mummy, can you read this card to Jesus for me?” she asked.
In our family, we talk a lot about how Christmas is Jesus’s birthday. And this year, for the first time, we’re planning to make a birthday cake for Him, to have with Christmas dinner (which will be a seasonally appropriate meal of sausages and salad).
So in our daughter’s mind, if there is a card for Christmas, it must be addressed to Jesus because it’s His birthday.
And once again I’m reminded of how good God was to make the gospel simple enough for a child to grasp, and yet complex enough that you can study it your whole life and never finish.
Psalm 8 says:
Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory
in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?
Christmas is that time of year when everything is wrapping up, but many things also seem to come to a head. It seems to be a time of year when tensions are running high and we’re less tolerant about things we have endured all year. I remember reading somewhere last year that more relationships and marriages break up in the months before Christmas than any other time of year.
Coming up to the Christmas and New Year period, we are faced with many opportunities for introspection. We have the chance to reflect on the year that has passed and think about how we want to do things differently in the year to come.
Sometimes this is thrilling, sometimes it is depressing. Sometimes we might look back on the year passed and see nothing but failure – failure to achieve our goals, failure in friendships, failure in parenting, failure across the board!
We might look back and see all the wonderful moments throughout the year. We might be mentally high-fiving ourselves for doing so well.
I think this time of introspection and planning at the start of the new year is very important. I’m looking foward to taking that time away from life, before 2016 gets underway, to retreat with friends and plan ahead.
But before we get there, in the midst of this crazy, busy season, can I encourage all of us to get our eyes off our own small lives, and get our eyes onto Jesus.
Just look at Him. Marvel at who He is and what He has done.
I guarantee your own life – whether in troubles or in triumph – will seem less important by the minute.
Like the old hymn says…
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.