The Hope of Children
Saturday - December 19th
"Hope is Here" Advent Devotionals - Day 19
Scripture to Read Today: Mark 10:13-16
"Let the children come to me. Don't stop them!
For the Kingdom of God belongs to those who are like these children. I tell you the truth; anyone who doesn't receive the Kingdom of God like a child will never enter it."
Snow falling, kids hanging out the moonroof or the sunroof with mouths open catching snowflakes, and trees with lights lining the way - and it all took place on the Calvary Campus. The last three evenings, nearly 8,000 people drove through a safe and healthy Christmas event on our campus. They heard the Good News of the Gospel through a children's story called "The Legend of the Candy Cane," the reading of the biblical narrative as they drove through nativity scenes populated by children, the singing of Christmas carols by singers along the way, and with a snowy, tree-lined Christmas scene.
Seeing kids in cars with parents and grandparents with eyes and mouths wide open meant so much to so many. After almost a year of such a limiting pandemic, children had a Christmas reason to smile and hope!
COVID-19 has robbed many of so much in 2020. Of course, some have lost their lives, and loved ones have lost people very precious to them. What a horrible outcome of this pandemic! Others have lost their businesses or jobs because of the economic fallout created by lockdowns and other attempts to contain the virus. Many students and their families felt robbed of high school and college graduations. Long-planned weddings, anniversary trips, little league seasons, and so many other regular rhythms of life were snatched away by the pandemic.
Churches like Calvary struggled to find ways to worship, fellowship, and serve while keeping people safe from infection. Calvary had to cancel our 13th annual "Star of Wonder" Christmas festival with snow, food trucks, games, and a petting zoo. In particular, it seems kids have lost a lot of outlets for their energy and time with their friends. Our team wanted to find a safe and healthy way to provide some Christmas fun for our church family and the Greater Conejo Valley community. While "the Star of Wonder" evening could not occur, we settled on a drive-through experience called "Follow the Star in Your Car."
Jesus loves children. In the ancient world, people held children in low value. At the root of this flawed value system was the reality that many died in childhood. So, why invest in a young boy or girl if their very existence was fragile. The Disciples of Jesus held this same view. Children, in their minds, were a distraction to Christ's ministry and kingdom. On one occasion in Mark, as parents brought children to Jesus to have Him bless them, the disciples pushed those with children back. They had no time for children, and neither did Jesus - or so they thought.
Jesus makes it clear that He welcomed children. He wanted them around Him. He blessed them and their families. Christ made it clear that His Kingdom was filled with the innocent faith of children. Children, in their sincerity and simplicity, exemplified what Christ's kingdom was all about.
Christmas and children go hand-in-hand. That is true not just because Christmas has so many lights, sounds, and tastes that appeal to a child. But it is also true because Christ values kids. He loves them and prioritizes them in His Kingdom.
Find a way to encourage, celebrate, or love a child or children in your life today. Value them. Christ did. Christ is the hope of children as much as He is the hope of anyone else! He is the hope of ALL!
Jesus prioritized children in a world that didn't. We should value them because Christ is the hope of Children everywhere!