As Advent presses on, I’m filled with warm memories of Christmases past. I remember my grandfather (who went to be with the Lord this year) reading the Nativity Story (Luke 2) as the grandkids piled around him. I remember the thrill the next morning as I charged down the stairs in my PJs to open presents with my parents and siblings. My grandmother cheerfully reminded us, “Jesus is the reason for the season!” (She was right.)

But, chief among the yuletide memories is a feeling difficult to describe. A hope. A sincere faith that dwelt in my heart, even then. The baby Jesus my Grandpa read about really was Immanuel: God with us. I didn’t yet possess the theological categories to understand the concept in-depth. I didn’t have to. I just knew that this Jesus, “away in a manger”, was actually God the Son. He created everything–and somehow loved me too. That was enough.

That innocence, that child-like faith isn’t just for kids at Christmastime. Jesus is calling everyone to a tender trust and intimacy with him. During his earthly ministry, he urged his disciples, “Let the little children come to me and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus wanted his disciples to follow him like little children, full of trust and amazement.

This doesn’t mean shutting off the mind and forgetting reason. Far from it! C. S. Lewis wrote: “[Jesus] wants a child’s heart, but a grown-up’s head. He wants us to be simple, single-minded, affectionate, and teachable, as good children are; but He also wants every bit of intelligence we have to be alert at its job, and in first-class fighting trim.” In other words, Jesus is seeking people who are radically dependent on him. Child-like faith says, “I don’t know. But, Jesus does.” At the same time, we are to be “shrewd as serpents” (Matthew 10:16). The best way to spot a counterfeit is to know the real thing. Wise Christians have a tender, childish dependence on Christ that discerns truth from error by the power of the Holy Spirit.

So, trust him this Christmas. All my fears, hopes, and dreams pale in light of his next Advent–when he comes again. Maranatha!

Jake Solis

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