I vividly recall my first Christmas after learning the truth about Santa Claus. I woke up, went downstairs to the Christmas tree, saw the gifts, and I felt sad. Gone was the sense of wonder, the magic that surrounds that day and I knew Christmas would never quite be the same again.
I felt the same way when I learned the truth about Hell. My relationship with God changed that day. And all the wonder and magic of the world disappeared, leaving a hole in my heart that I have been trying to fill ever since.
I became very serious after that. Confused because nothing made sense anymore. All the songs I sang about Jesus loving me seemed empty and hollow. How could God love me, and banish me at the same time? The questions have overwhelmed me, even to this day.
Last night I watched Toy Story 3. And I was reminded of my childhood, before Santa, before Hell. I used to play. My heart used to be light. I loved Tonka trucks and hula hoops and pogo sticks. And there was nothing better than opening a brand new container of Play-Doh.
But I don’t play with those things anymore. And my heart is heavy because it’s filled with worry and concern. I think no wonder Jesus wanted the little children to come to Him. Because they laugh and play. They still have their sense of wonder and awe. I see it on their faces during our children’s sermons, as they wait eagerly for the pastor to tell them a story and hand them a treat.
And yet, Jesus must have had a heavy heart as well. Nobody endured more pain and suffering as a result of the evils of this world than Him. But still he called the children. He didn’t rebuke their silliness, their innocence. He loved them and even instructed that unless we become like these little children we would not see the Kingdom of Heaven.
I would like to find that sense of wonder within myself again. I believe its there but just became buried. Perhaps the way to find it again is to act just a little bit like a child. And while I would love to swirl around the inside of a hula hoop, I think my hips would be grateful if I settled for a coloring book and some crayons.