I was talking to my daughter, as we like to do at the dinner table. Mind you she is only 9-months, so the conversations are pretty one-sided at this time. But sometimes she looks at me and makes sounds her baby language. Today’s conversation centered around the Christmas story. As a new dad celebrating Christmas with his daughter for the first time, I wondered what she thought about the Baby Jesus.
She is so close to walking on her own now, and determined to figure out how to get moving and on her own. She has places to go and especially people to see. I asked her when she thought Jesus took his first steps. We wondered together if Mary had a book like Ellie’s mommy has to keep track of all of Jesus’ firsts.
When did Jesus get his first tooth?
When did Jesus begin to sit up?
When did Jesus start crawling?
What was Jesus first word?
We took the conversation a bit further too as Ellie does a compromised version of Elimination Communication (or click here). We look for her cues and then take her to go poopy. I asked my daughter if she thought Jesus gave the perfect cues to Mary to let her know when he needed to go.
We were blown away just thinking about how the Son of God, the almighty who was here at the beginning of the universe playing a role in creation also sat on the floor and played like our daughter does. The king of the universe allowed himself to go through all the same processes as any other baby. Talking with my daughter about Christmas helped me get a new perspective of Jesus’ humanity.
How does thinking of Jesus as a baby change how you picture him?
I love watching my daughter, Ellie, grow and learn new things. She is a watcher, an observer. She loves to go for walks and peak out of her carrier to see people and everything else go by. But while she loves getting out and being a part of the busy-ness of the world, she wants to be a part of it also. She wants to be like the people around her. If she hears talking not addressed to her, she will join in and try to drawn you out. When she sees us eating, she tries to grab and eat also. She is constantly trying to do new things.
Recently, she figured out how to balance herself so she can sit. She went from being able to sit for 30 seconds one day, to sitting for over 10 minutes the next day. When I saw her just sitting there, I ran and got my camera. Ellie was so proud of herself that it was easy to get a good picture. She had the biggest smiles, smiles that said, look at what I can do.
The day after learning how to sit, Ellie wanted to learn new things. She is all about trying to crawl now. She gets so frustrated that she can’t propel herself forward. So right now, it is a fussy, but determined baby. Soon it will be one of excitement as she proudly moves across the room.
Watching her has made me think about how we view ourselves. Ellie is so proud over something that is so easy for us to do. She couldn’t be more excited when she gets to hold a spoon, or place her feet on the ground and pretend to stand. I think that we do the same things in our lives. We get so excited, even proud, when we can do something good for God. We want God to join in our excitement and praise us. Praise us he does, but he really wants us to be doing things much greater than “sitting” or “crawling” around in this life. He is happy when we gather for Christian fellowship and read our Bibles every day, but he is looking forward to seeing us do much greater things. Just as Ellie can’t yet conceive of jumping and dancing around, I can only imagine how awesome our lives will be once we have matured fully in Christ. Until then, I will keep striving to grow. Just like once Ellie learned to sit, she started trying to crawl, I want to keep growing in my walk with Christ. I never want to grow content to just sit or crawl and think I have reached maturity in Christ.
What do you think makes God smile?
As the New Year swings into action, I wanted to pause a moment and look forward with a year in anticipation post. 2011 is a year of God birthing new things in our life. Coinciding with the amazing miracle of a little daughter coming at the end of March, hopefully just ahead of opening day for the 2011 Baseball season, we are following God’s draw to birth a new church in one of the Urban centers of Bangkok.
God works in mysterious ways.
When Christina was born, her parents began their first church in Mission Viejo. Now when Christina has her first child, we will be birthing a new church. It is amazing how God uses metaphors to illustrate his love for new life. We see God’s hand on the timing of everything that is happening right now in our life, even though we would not have chosen the present timeline for anything that is happening now. If it was up to us to decide how life unfolded, the story would turn out quite differently.
Our plans looked different than God’s idea. We thought we would be in Thailand for only 1-2 years, not for the 3 ½ that we have already been here. We wanted to be planting a church in an urban center of Chicago after our time in Thailand. Then we wanted to have a baby three years ago. Now through a series of events and the mysterious working of God, He has blessed us with a child that we already love so much and has compelled us to see a new church that reproduces itself again and again birthed in Bangkok.
The year 2011 will mark some milestone moves in our life. First, we move into the realm of parenthood and the joys that come with that. We get to care for a precious young baby who will grow up watching everything we do. Wow, that hits you right in the gut with a humbling reminder to be the same at home and out of the home. Even now, we can see her playing in the kiddie section of the pool at our new condo and making new friends. We see her asking us questions of culture living as the child of missionaries, a third culture child. We also look forward to see her grow and develop in a bilingual environment. We are starting to build the patterns of time and relationship into our daughter even now as I tell her a story every night.
Second, we will be moving into the role of senior leader. Understanding that title doesn’t make a leader, but relationship and influence mark a leader, we will have a new group of people looking to us for guidance and spiritual authority. Again this smacks of a humbling place to be right now as we scan the horizon of the future.
We rest in that tension between the vision God has placed in our heart and the moment we are in presently. The dream to see God’s work unfold in front of us. We stand between the now and not yet as we look toward the future. We see so much as we stand on the hill and look out at the horizon of the time to come. What a beautiful thing the future is.