Summary: Christ came at Christmas to clean up our mess.
Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child
Rev. Brian Bill
One Christmas morning, the Reverend Jones announced to his congregation, “My good people, I have here in my hand three sermons...A $50 sermon that lasts five minutes, a $20 sermon that lasts thirty minutes, and a $5 sermon that lasts a full hour. Now, we’ll take the offering and see which one I’ll deliver.’”
Since we’ve already taken the offering, the ushers are signaling me that it looks like you’re in for a 60-minute sermon. As the children in my house say, “JK.” This is usually followed with “LOL.”
Children and Christmas just seem to go together, don’t they? One of our daughters has made sure that we’ve had Christmas music playing on Pandora since October. It was Erma Bombeck who said, “There’s nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.”
Did you know that Jesus took the time to minister to children? On the two occasions when he fed large groups of people, he also fed children. And, it was a young boy who gave Him the fish and bread which launched the lunch miracle in the first place.
In Matthew 18, Jesus called a little child to Him and had him stand among the disciples. It strikes me that Jesus didn’t have to go looking for a child -- there was obviously one right nearby. I think there were children with Jesus all the time.
When Jesus made his last entry into Jerusalem, it was the children who shouted out, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” (Matthew 21:15). And it’s quite possible that some of the shepherds that first Christmas were young children.
I love what Andy Rooney once said: “One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas day…Don’t clean it up too quickly.” I want to propose this morning that Christ came at Christmas to clean up our mess. And most of us have messes that don’t clean up very quickly.
As we meet here in this beautiful auditorium I’m reminded of what happened four years ago on this campus when the school went on “lockdown” and then just this past week there was a bomb threat and the building was evacuated. That means that the present senior class has experienced both of these frightening events during their high school career. Our world is a mess, isn’t it?
Let’s face it. Sometimes as adults, we’re more irritated with kids than we are locked into their needs. I want us to focus on a passage from Mark 10 for a few minutes that shows how children and Christmas go together.
1. Let Children Come. The first thing we need to do in relation to children and Christmas is to let them come to Jesus. In verse13 we see that people were bringing little children to Jesus. The tense of the words indicate that this was something that was customary -- it happened all the time. They “kept on bringing” because these parents knew that kids matter to Jesus. They knew that their kids would be welcome.
They didn’t even think twice about it. They weren’t worried about Jesus turning his back on them or their kids. I’m sure they had noticed how Jesus had treated children on many different occasions. They no doubt wanted their kids to be ministered to as well. With peanut butter on their hands or runny noses or loud voices, Christ came at Christmas to clean up our mess.
But the disciples didn’t like the interruption. Acting as bodyguards and protectors, they scolded and stiff-armed the parents. Why couldn’t these children just go and play? How dare they bother Jesus? He has more important things to do. After all, they were more important than a bunch of kids.
The disciples then turn to these adults and rebuke them. The word “rebuke” is strong. It’s the same word that is used by Jesus when he rebuked the wind and the sea in Mark 4. It means to “be muzzled.” It has the idea of strictly forbidding something with the threat of punishment if the command is not obeyed. They thought children were too bothersome and that Jesus was too busy. They were wrong on both counts.
Friends, before we get too hard on the disciples, we need to take a look at our own hearts.
We have to be careful with our own attitudes toward children. Some of us may be more like the disciples than we care to admit.
Verse 14 says that Jesus was “indignant” with the disciples. The word indignant comes from a compound word meaning, “to grieve much.” This is the only time it was used in the entire New Testament. This made Jesus both mad and extremely sad. He would not tolerate this attitude among his disciples and He doesn’t tolerate it among Christ-followers today.