…a child shall lead them
I was just at Target a few days ago, looking for a few dress shirts. I had circled the store a few times, which is not uncommon for me, as I typically forget other items I need. With a few more items in my hand, I headed to check out and like what every customer should do, I patiently wait. I wasn’t rushing to get anywhere and yet a couple in front of me felt different. For what seemed like several minutes, they complained about the wait, voices raising gradually, trying to emphasize that there time was more valuable than the rest. They threw their arms up, waving an employee down, trying to get their attention. Other customers from other check out lines were peering over and trying to figure out what the commotion was about. As they attempted for a third time to get ahold of an employee, a boy probably around 10 years of age, who was in front of them in line, turned around and said, “Take our spot”. I heard the boy offer their spot to the impatient couple and yet I wasn’t sure it really happened. He said it again, this time looking them more directly in their eyes, “You can cut in front of my mom and I.” The tone of the couple changed dramatically from that point on. The smiled and accepted the boys offer.
I have to say that it is at this time of year that our daily lives change from a typical routine to chaos. I often hear, “I just cannot believe it is Christmas!” or “Where has the year gone?” or “I don’t have enough time to get everything done before the holidays!”. I laugh often when I hear these sorts of comments, not to say that it isn’t true, that the holiday season comes fast, but I can usually count on hearing these comments every year. Life passes us by and we ended up saying, “Where has it gone?” Gifts, baking, shopping, decorating, and traveling consume our time and we ask ourselves when will we have time for family or quiet time. There is no doubt that this time of year feels chaotic. We get excited for the season and look forward to spending it with those we love. We are driven to accomplish our tasks and we forget about our own actions and the impacts it has on others.
This time of year, our attention is drawn upon the manger, where we look upon a child, whose very existence drew individuals to see first hand the gift that was to change everything. This very child was called to lead and bring peace upon the Earth. As Jesus was born, I often think of the attitude of those who were pilgrimaging towards Bethlehem. What was running through their minds? What sort of expectations did they have prior to stepping inside the stable? Obviously our priorities and the way we live today differs from that period of time, but I have to wonder in spite of the distractions we encounter day in and day out, is there still room for us to encounter and share this form of love and peace? Jesus, as we soon discover, begins a journey that transforms the very nature of how we look at loving and caring for our neighbor. The impatient couple in Target had things to do and nothing was going to stop that. I can relate to the couple in so many ways. I have my lists and my goals that need to be accomplish, and often times I forget about how much impact I have on others and even myself. All it took was a child to change it. A child that gave myself, and even the impatient couple a new perspective. The boy lead us by setting the example, not hesitating to offer a peaceful solution. This brings me to back to Isaiah 6:11 – where we find that “…a child shall lead them.” A phrase that I still believe resonates today. Our lives are disrupted when we peer inside the manger and find that love and patience comes in all forms. Our lives are disrupted when we are stopped by a child who sees frustration, who hears the anger, and offers us love and kindness instead. Are we not made vulnerable when we encounter such a love. Do we not begin to see differently? Although I was not directly involved, the boys actions and attitude gave me new life. It allowed me to reflect on how my own actions and attitude can impact others, in the midst of this chaotic season. This is much like Jesus who disrupts our lives, gives us perspective, and gives the opportunity for change. I read this passage “…a child shall lead them,” and I say “YES!” I say lead me where I may find that peace and love. Lead me where I may find patience and an attitude of giving. May each of us step back and find value in the season, even if it is for a brief moment. May we be lead by a child who can disrupt our daily routine, only to remind us that we also can love.