We’ve lost something! A sense of genuine celebration. There are world cultures that have feasts and festivals that bring out the child in everyone. For days, there are parties in the streets, special costumes, music and dancing, and ceremonial observations for which the entire community comes together. And it’s not just the children! To be sure, some of these revelries are pagan and involve questionable, dark activities. But the invitation is to throw off day-to-day routines to have a party, to recover the ways of little children.
Sure, we hold birthday parties for little ones, sometimes making them into extravagant affairs (but often segued with complaints of the ensuing mess and fatigue) – only a partial celebration. As adults, we mostly shun such events, feeling we’ve outgrown them. Thanksgiving and Christmas are similar, with many people focusing on the trouble and expense, the back-to-back parties, the major family and social obligations, grateful when ‘it’s all over for another year.’ Ironically, these two events are the peak times for depression and suicide – hardly fun or wholehearted.
The lives we now live, blossoming out of Jesus’ death on our behalf, are lives of invitation. God is continually inviting His children to come to Him, to be loved on, to be held close, to be reassured. In some senses, we are never adults in God’s eyes. Maybe like a doting parent, to Him, we are perpetually His little kids (How many parents have said to their adult daughter or son, ‘You’ll always be my little girl/boy.”?)
If we grow up and out of our childlikeness, do we simultaneously lose the joy and peace and spontaneity of that age of innocence? Do we lose the ability to hear the voice of Holy Spirit inviting us to the next thing, the next opportunity, the next life-giving challenge he wants to set before us? Do we sadden the heart of the Father in our sophistication (which is, cringingly, derived from the word ‘sophistry’ which means the art of deception)?
Can we regain the energy and pep of other times? Would that allow us to capture those invitations more readily? Is the Isaiah promise still there for us, that of not tiring, not fainting, but rather, mounting up to soar on the ethers like eagles? Is there a party being planned that our ears can’t tune into? Are we invited to come to the Kingdom as little children, indeed, not able to enter in unless we do? Questions, questions questions . . . Let’s be prayerful, listening for any invitation that might come tomorrow as Duke and Marie minister to us. Tomorrow at 10 AM, 4 PM. PD