By Dawn Onley
We can learn a lot about faith from a child.
Children trust completely. They don’t question for a moment that we will catch them when they jump or when they fall. Children naturally think that good things will come their way if they do what they are supposed to do. And you know what? They are usually right.
Children trust we will provide for them. They trust we love them and would never harm them.
They get excited at the least little thing – like going for a walk, doing a jigsaw puzzle, or reading a favorite book. They still see the world with awe and a sense of adventure. They know how magnificent the mundane is, even if we have forgotten.
This is why the Bible instructs Christians on the importance of faith. “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
And these verses extolling the virtues of a childlike faith: “At the time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who then is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? Jesus called a little child to stand among them. “Truly I tell you,” He said, “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 18:1-3)
Unflinching, children are acting on faith when they take us on wild adventures with their imagination and their toys, when they show compassion and concern, when they see what our jaded eyes prevent us from seeing and when they believe against all odds.
Last weekend, I ventured out to the mall in the midst of the Christmas holiday frenzy and almost immediately, my son started begging me to sit on Santa’s lap. “Please mommy, please?” Looking at the line that snaked around the Santa display and the bags in my hand, and knowing that he had already had this experience a few times over, I told him not today. So he stood there, waving at Santa and calling his name. I told him Santa probably couldn’t hear him because of all of the noise and that he was busy getting through the long line of kids.
My son raised his voice: “HI SANTA!” and waved more frantically. Santa looked over and waved back. Then my son started to sing “Jingle Bells” because he said Santa likes that song. Finally, after several minutes, he looked up at me and smiled, content that Santa saw him and heard him and that he was on Santa’s good list.
He wouldn’t be deterred. He didn’t care that mommy was tired and that my hands were filled with bags. He wasn’t swayed by the long line of kids waiting to meet Santa. He didn’t care that his display was drawing attention from parents and their children.
All he cared about was reaching Santa. He had faith that if he stood there long enough yelling Santa’s name and waving, Santa would acknowledge him.
It reminded me of that faith in the Bible displayed by the woman with the issue of blood who came up behind Jesus, in the crowd of people, and touched the hem of his garment, believing that she would be healed.
We could all benefit from a faith like this.
This holiday season, let us renew our hope in the things that we cannot see. Let us extend charity to those who are suffering. Let us love one another, if for no other reason, just for the fact that we are sharing this Earth together.
Let us be guided by the faith of a child. Let us be reminded that it works for us, too.