The other day I got to babysit my grandson, Titus. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a young child running around our house. He is at the age where he can walk, but is not always confident that he’s doing it right.
My life is taking a twist with this kid. I am beginning to see things once more through the eyes of a child, which does two things. First, it boils life down to its simplest form. A piece of string on the floor becomes a thing of mystery and discovery. Second, it awakens feelings that have long been dormant.
We live in a two-story house, so one of Titus’s favorite things to do is go mountain climbing with his grandpa. He crawls up the steps with me about an inch behind him, then stops and laughs because he thinks we’re racing. The problem is that he doesn’t know how to come back down. I pick him up and carry him downstairs, only to have him beat a path back to the steps to climb once more. At the top, he turns left, because the next room on that side contains his toys. So it has become his habit to climb the stairs, take a left, take another left and enjoy some playtime.
But the other day when he got to the top of the stairs, he noticed for the first time that the hallway also extended to his right. It was as though he had found a magic tunnel to explore. He turned to his right and walked cautiously down the hallway to discover another door, the entrance to his Grammy’s sewing room. He stepped into this strange, curious room, quietly taking in all the rows of bright-colored fabrics, quilts and assorted sewing threads. Next, he walked over to the oscillating fan that stands by Grammy’s sewing machine and stared at it for a long time. Then, quietly and reverently, he turned to his Grammy and whispered, “Wow!”
It was though he had discovered the Ark of the Covenant. You could almost see the wonder and excitement tingling through his little body, along with a sense of awe. As my wife was telling me about this, I thought, “It’s just a fan. I’ve seen hundreds of fans, and I’m not sure what’s so amazing about this one.”
But then I got to thinking.
There used to be a day when I was inspired and entertained by a fan. I remember when my parents bought a box fan that sat on the floor. In those days, they made fans without many safety features. The metal blades resembled an airplane propeller. My brothers and I would sit for long periods of time and play with that fan. We would take playing cards and insert them into the rotating blades, waiting for the sound as each blade hit the cards: “Phfft, phfft, phfft, phfft.”
We would sing or make funny noises into the fan, and take turns listening to our distorted voices coming out the other side. Yes, there was a day when I, too, would look at a fan and say, “Wow.” But, life has a way of taking that sense of awe away from us. The spectacular become the norm, the astounding becomes mundane and we become adults with no wonder left in our lives.
It sometimes it takes a child to bring us back to the place where we see things as are they really are. We have to uncover the layers that life has stacked upon us, but a child can see the wonder right away.
I wonder if that is why Jesus came as a baby: so that we could see the world through His eyes. The wonder of how much God loves us, that we matter to Him enough that He would send us His only begotten Son: “Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:11). And all we can do when we see the Christ Child is to say with reverence, “Wow!”
I would like to take a moment of personal privilege at this point. Each year, I think I would like to send out personal Christmas cards to all my readers, but then I realize how difficult that would be. I barely get this article written each week, let alone thousands of cards. But I want you to know the joy you have brought me as I have met many of you, and you have touched me with your kind words and hugs. From my heart to yours, I want to give you a deeply-felt “Merry Christmas!”