Up Faith through Childlike Eyes | UMC YoungPeople
Connecting young people and their adult leaders to God, the church, and the world
December 2013

Up Faith through Childlike Eyes

By: Holli Long

Everyone was gripped with great wonder and awe. And they praised God, saying over and over again, "We have seen amazing things today." Luke 5:26

During a recent trip to our local super store, my husband and I purposely took our twin three-year-olds to that one particular section in the very back with all the trimmings and trees and glitter and sparkles. At the time, it wasn't even Thanksgiving yet. But, no surprise, it was already beginning to look a lot like Christmas. The aisles were decked with boughs of holly (and then some) and the music echoed early warnings of Yuletide Greetings ahead. While, typically, we would have rolled our eyes - the jaded early 30-somethings that we are - this time, in the Christmas section of Meijer, we laughed and nodded and "oooh"-ed and "ahhhh"-ed right along with them.

There was something magical about those fake trees with their lights and those glittery red ornaments and that enormous box of shinny wrapping paper. Maybe we wouldn't have noticed it a few short years ago. We were probably too worried about our "to-do" lists, too anxious about the schedule, and too cynical to let ourselves get caught up in the spectacle. But on this day, we allowed ourselves to see it through the eyes of our three-year-olds, and it was all magical and wonderful again.

In a similar way, my husband and I get to experience the thrill of toddler Sunday school each week. Just like the Christmas section at the store, everything in class is new and exciting and all is possible - God and Jesus and walking on the water. My boys burst out of their classroom each week with a twinkle in their eyes.

Meanwhile, I often find that I leave my own Sunday School classroom with more questions than answers these days - more wrestling with the complexities than savoring in the beauty. While I'm grateful for the gifts of reason and experience that come with age, I do yearn a bit for those simpler times when it was all a spectacle.

The magic of the Christmas lights and the beauty of the Christmas Light.

But I also appreciate that grown-up faith is more than just a spectacle. In many ways it is simple and beautiful and full of awe, but in others it is challenging and real and gritty. One of my pastors once told me that wrestling with the questions, with the hard stuff, is one of the most faithful things we can do. I now have her words on a post-it note tucked neatly inside my bible.

So this Christmas, I offer a simple prayer that we might find the best of both worlds. May we find beauty in the challenge. Grace in the grit.

Dear Lord,

Help us to remember the innocence of our youth while continuing to appreciate the perspective gained from our growing experience. Help us to keep wrestling with the difficult questions that come with a grown-up faith while still granting us moments of childlike awe and wonder. Amen.

Discussion Questions: Where do you find moments of wonder and amazement, especially in this Christmas season? How do you balance the blessings of a grown-up faith with the yearning for childlike awe?

See more devotions from Holli and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.