Friday, January 7, 2011


I had the opportunity to teach a couple of times this first week back from Christmas break.  One day near the end of our lunch break, one teacher said to another, "So, when do children stop believing in Santa Claus?"  She looked expectantly at the other moms sitting around the table.  Apparently her five year old had started to question the existence of the old fella and mom wanted the magic to last as long as possible.

I had nothing to contribute to the conversation, but grew more curious as the conversation picked up intensity.

"Has she noticed that not all Santas look the same?"
"Has she started to pull on his beard?"
"Do you use a different wrapping paper for your gifts and Santa's gifts?"

But the most damning of all was the observation that other children create and build the doubt.  "There's nothing you can do once the other kids start telling them Santa's not real," was repeated and agreed upon more than once.  Once the word's out, there's no stopping the questions, the doubt, the reality of the situation.

And, both sorrowful and rejoicing, I marveled that there is no need to lie to my children about who God is.  I don't have to create fantasy or sustain fanciful notions.  God is.  He has made Himself evident to all of mankind.  For "that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse." (Romans 1:18-19).

I was relieved with the assurance that our children will never have to question the truth of what we have taught.  Sure, they know we are faulty beings and yes, we've made many mistakes.  But we have not intentionally built a web of lies about someone who mimics the character of God.   God is the One who makes Himself known, apart from my frailty and inability.  There is no peer pressure, no wrapping paper, no false beard to guard against.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Has Anyone Seen Jesus?

A friend recommended a book yesterday and as I read the introduction, I was struck by this insight:
We are often like Jesus' parents who left Him in Jerusalem after the Passover.  We follow the prescribed path of obedience, celebration, or discipline then continue on our way, never realizing Jesus' absence.
And that's exactly the passage that was next on my personal reading venture for today:  Luke 2:41-52.

Jesus said, "Why is it that you were looking for Me? Did you not know that I had to be in My Father’s house?"

But Joseph and Mary did not know Jesus well enough to predict His absence from them and His presence at the temple. They did not understand His need and desire to talk about heavenly things, to immerse Himself in His Father’s business. They left Jerusalem fully expecting that their desires took precedence over Jesus’ and that Jesus would follow if only they led.

How easy it is to leave Jesus in Jerusalem! To go about my business and assume that He’s with me just because it’s what I want to do.  And as I go through the routine of today, in preparation for Christmas, I need to stop and ask, "Where's Jesus?" 

As I send children off to school for the day: "Where's Jesus?"
As I sort laundry, sweep floors, and pick up misplaced items: "Is Jesus here?"
As I write notes on Christmas letters, wrap gifts, plan holiday parties: "Is Jesus coming?"
As I call friends, send email responses, and facebook replies: "Have you seen Jesus?"

I pray that this Christmas season will be one where His presence is acknowledged and felt in each encounter, each pursuit, and each step of the journey--or that I will choose to return to "Jerusalem" and sit at His feet until He is ready to go....

Monday, December 6, 2010

Absent Evangelism: Attack of the Stomach Flu

When our nine-year-old daughter came down with the stomach flu last week, I knew it would happen.  It didn't hit until the end of the day and I was tired.  I didn't take the usual precautions and yes, the bug hit me 36 hours later.  The day before I was scheduled to present "The True Meaning of Christmas" for a friend's outreach brunch.  Yes, 36 hours.  And the brunch was going to take place 21 hours after I hit the pillow.

My friend sounded a little concerned when I reached her after work that evening.  "Okay. Okay," she assured me (and herself).  Followed by "This is too funny," and a laugh.  "Our Sunday school teacher challenged us to share the gospel with ten people this week and I'm scared to death.  Maybe this is God's answer."

And it was.  She wasn't sure what to say to the women or how to say it.  But the Lord had already given me the time to put my thoughts on paper.  I sent her the outline and she got to share Christ with friends she sees on a regular basis, but has not personally told about their need for Jesus and His provision.  Yes, God even uses the stomach flu to guide and use His people.  I must say it was the most exciting outreach event I've ever missed!