When we were children we were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas time. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?
– G.K. Chesterton
BACK TO JOY Down the stairs my nephew flies. The day is here, it's finally arrived. He knew it would, he had no doubt. He knows what Christmas is all about. He weaves his way through hips and thighs, lifted elbows and judging eyes. For him, all other celebrations, they're practices and preparations, little Christmas imitations. Knees hit the carpet before the tree, small eyes and fingers darting free. At times it must have seemed far off, this little guy, he never scoffed. Distracted perhaps by summer and school, then pumpkins, turkey and the weather got cool. Colors flashing as tags are read, sifted, sorted and stacked instead. Then browns and golds turned reds and greens— colors, smells, sounds and scenes. Christmas had come, the world made sense. The rest of the year was mere pretense. He sits back and grins-- job well done. Then turns and strains to find his mum. I've seen him at birthdays, at school and at play, nothing compares to Christmas day. But it's not just the presents, and not just the day; the whole season affects him in such a deep way. His smile returns as our eyes meet. He motions for me to have a seat. Where have I lost that kind of joy, and traded away what I had as a boy? My magic childhood Christmas dreams, the confidence that there was more, they grew into ambitious schemes, that once achieved became a bore. Each successive toy began to gather dust and grime. Mistaken for the source of joy, they could not bear the weight of time. But Christmas holds the promise still, the reason we all yearn for more. Gifts of this life cannot fulfill, to point the way is what they're for. When they no longer have to bear the weight of all our longings, gifts can be enjoyed and lead to where in Christ are true belongings. We adults, we stand around, while children live where joy is found. I gladly put my coffee down and joined my nephew on the ground. ___________________________________ As leaders, it is often hard for us to relax and enjoy this season. Many of the events we go to and family functions we attend are times of responsibility rather than celebration. We feel we always have to be teaching and making sure everything runs perfectly. This can fill these moments with tension, frustration, disappointment and diminishing joy. Perhaps we need to hear Jesus again say, "Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God (and Christmas) like a child will not enter it at all." (Mark 10:15 NASB) I invite you throughout this holiday season to listen for the Spirit prompting you to allow your childhood joy of Christmas to resurface. When we let all this season has to offer point us personally to Him, we will get Back to Joy. And that is Leading worth pursuing! ___________________________________ Back to Joy, comes from Kirk's poetry/devotional book, THE GRACE OF RAIN, which is available at Amazon.com along with his second book, LISTENING LIKE BREATHING.