Tuesday, November 16, 2010

What do Jesus and Santa Claus have in common?

The sky was deep blue and crystal clear. The air was crisp and cool with a hint of woodsmoke from early morning fires. I was filled with a sense of peace, as I drove west on 441 through Mount Dora and Eustis. Cassi, my 3 year old granddaughter, and I were on our way to the Downtown Eustis park, one of our favorite Friday play places. From her car seat in the back I could hear her talking to her imaginary friend,Sally. Her little voice, as usual caused me to smile, as she shared 3 year old incite with Sally. Then she asked me, "Bebe, where's Jesus?" I realized that in that exact spot the previous week I had shared with her that Jesus was with us all the time. Now she picked up that train of thought, as though we still carrying on that conversation. My response to her was, "He's with us right now, Cassi. We can't see him, but he is here, and we love him so much, don't we?" She responded with, "Yes, and we love Santa Clause too!" With a little laugh, I answered, " Yes, we do, Baby?"

I've been mulling this conversation over and over in my head trying to determine why Cassi connected loving Jesus with loving Santa Claus. What conversation had she overheard that made this connection for her? Were they of equal importance in her little mind? Had we been talking so much about "Santa's coming to town" that she now understood Jesus and Santa to be on the same level of significance? Had I demoted God to the level of Santa Claus?

She's only 3 and her understanding of Jesus comes from what she has heard those older than her share. She doesn't understand the Trinity, but then few of us do. She knows that Jesus loves us and that we talk (pray) to him about our needs and concerns. She doesn't yet understand John 3:16, but she does understand that when things aren't going right we go to Jesus (God) and talk to him about it. She understands that we thank Jesus for the blessings in our life. All this is good, but is it enough if she understands Jesus and Santa to be worthy of the same kind of love.

I want my granddaughters to understand that Jesus is the truth, the life and the way. That apart from him NOTHING ELSE matters. I want them to love him because he is God, not for what he has done, or what he will do. So now I ask myself what can I do to help them, and in this case, Cassi, understand His Majesty?

This has become my mission..............Shalom, Bebe

Monday, November 8, 2010

"Wisdom of a Three Year Old"

"Bebe, that is where my old body is buried. I have a new body now!" These were the words I heard coming from my 3 year old granddaughters' mouth as we passed the cemetery. Not sure that I heard her correctly, I asked, "What did you say, Cassi?" Once again she repeated the sentence and then asked me if my old body was there too? Needless to say I was slightly perplexed at this statement and question coming from a 3 year old mouth.

Later that afternoon I shared this disconcerting conversation with my daughter. She explained that they frequently take flowers to place on the graves of family members and to explain to Cassi why they were doing it, she told her that our bodies wear out over time, are placed in the ground and then we go to heaven and get a new body. Actually, that is quite a good explanation for what happens to believers.

I haven't been able to get this innocent conversation out of my mind. Especially, the "is your old body there, Bebe?" part. So today I began searching scripture for references to "old and new body". I knew that God was speaking to me through my granddaughter, but couldn't grasp fully what he wanted to say to me until I reached Romans 6:1-11. As I read these verses, I understood.

1 Well then, should we keep on sinning so that God can show us more and more kindness and forgiveness?

2 Of course not! Since we have died to sin, how can we continue to live in it?

3 Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him?

4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives.

5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was.

6 Our old sinful selves were crucified with Christ so that sin might lose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin.

7 For when we died with Christ we were set free from the power of sin.

8 And since we died with Christ, we know we will also share his new life.

9 We are sure of this because Christ rose from the dead, and he will never die again. Death no longer has any power over him.

10 He died once to defeat sin, and now he lives for the glory of God.

11 So you should consider yourselves dead to sin and able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus.
(The New Living Translation)

As I read this, the question, "Is your old body buried there, Bebe?" rang in my ears. If, like I claimed, I was a follower of Jesus and had placed my trust in Him and Him alone, it should be. But, was I continuing to "live in the sin", verse 2, of my "Old Body"? I wasn't committing the obvious sins, but was I sinning none the less? Segments of these verses (in bold)leaped off the page as I read.

"How can we continue to live in it(sin)? When we became Christians we died with him. Now we also live new lives. So that sin might loose its power in our lives. We are no longer slaves to sin. We were set free from the power of sin and are able to live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus."

Was I really living the new life Christ had promised me? Was I acting as though sin had no power over me? Was I living free from the power of sin? Or did I live as though that worn out old body was still the home of my spirit more often than not? Was I living fully in my "New Body" as Cassi was or did I reek of the odor of an "Old Body" that should have been buried long ago?

Guess what? I had to admit that while claiming a "New Body" as mine, I had neglected to bury the "Old Body". I was still wallowing in the sins of fear, lack of trust, jealousy, selfish ambition, anger and other sins that kept me from "being able to fully live for the glory of God through Christ Jesus". If anyone had asked me prior to the conversation I had with Cassi if I were carrying around the carcass of my "Old Body" I would have laughed, but a 3 year old's wisdom caused me to evaluate whether my "Old Body" was in need of burial. Now, with "shovel" in hand I am determine to lay to rest my "Old Body", so that my "New Body" may live free from the stench of sin that clung to my "Old Body" and bring the glory of God through Christ Jesus to the world I live in.....................Shalom, Bebe