My focus will be on various aspects of Christmas in the next few articles and I’m going to start by looking at Christmas through the eyes of children. Their view is quite literal, often humorous, typically theologically imperfect, but almost always genuine and heartfelt.
Let’s begin with the story of a little boy who was asked to play the part of the innkeeper in the annual Christmas pageant. During the rehearsal when he was to tell Joseph and Mary, “No room!” he wouldn’t say his lines. After the third attempt, the director asked him what was wrong. He answered, “I just can’t send Jesus away! He can have my room!”
Another account, involving eight-year-old Cathy took place at Bellevue Baptist Church, Memphis Tennessee. She wrote a Christmas letter to Jesus. It said, “Dear Jesus, My name is Cathy. I’m eight. Mommy said I should write a letter to Santa, but I decided to write you first, ‘cause I know Christmas is your birthday. I just wanted to write happy birthday. I hope you get lots of presents like I got at my birthday party.
“I asked my Mommy where to send a letter to Jesus. She wouldn’t answer me, but I think if I just wrote Jesus on the outside of the envelope the postman will know where to take it.
“Daddy gave me $3 to buy presents with. I’ll buy you the biggest, ‘cause it’s your birthday. I don’t even know what you want. Please drop me a little hint. Your friend, Cathy.”
Somehow, Mrs. Prewett, Sunday school superintendant at Bellevue, received Cathy’s letter. She replied, “Dear Cathy, Your letter to Jesus is one of the finest letters I have ever read. I agree with you, Cathy. Buying a gift for Jesus is very hard to do. In fact, even if you had all the dollars in the world, I doubt if you could buy a present fine enough for Jesus. But there is one thing that Jesus wants very much. He wants you, Cathy. He loves you, and He wants you to love Him. Your best gift, Cathy, is you. I think that kind of present would give Jesus a most happy birthday!”
I’m reminded of the admonition found in Romans 12:1 which says, “…dear brothers and sisters, I strongly encourage you to give your bodies (lives) to God. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will accept.”
“What can I give Him, poor as I am? If I were a shepherd, I would give Him a lamb; If I were a wiseman, I’d do my part; Yes, what can I give him? I’ll give Him my heart!”
— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church