and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?” And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies you have prepared praise’?” Matthew 21:16
An Irrepressible, spontaneous, creative and exuberant praise that is what we adults rarely experience but it is exactly what flows so effortlessly from the lips of the smallest child. As a worship leader I find that my own tendency is to over train and under worship when preparing for the service. I often spend 1 1/2 hours in preparing a single song yet when the moment comes though I play and sing my best often I feel a little distant from the presence of God . He is there but I sense the absence in my own heart of the heartfelt praise I long for.
I can remember long ago bringing small children from our neighborhood to church. The memory that comes happened around Christmas. A young boy named Dylan had come with us that day. Dylan decided he wanted nothing to do with being sent downstairs alone to Sunday school. Trying to reason with him, that it was only for his Christmas party, didn’t move him a bit. So I took his hand and walked down to the classroom with him. That day the teacher talked a little about the Christmas story then in closing she gave each child a little cupcake with a candle. While we carefully watched the flames, we sat around in a circle and sang “Happy birthday” to Jesus. As the last note faded we then helped the children blow out their candles. At the exact moment that Dylan blew out his candle he looked up at the picture on the wall behind the teacher. It wasn’t the stable of Bethlehem that he saw, but rather the Last Supper. In that miracle moment God spoke through his tiny lips, “Look it’s Jesus’ birthday party!” Now, twenty years later, I have forgotten most of the sermons I heard preached in that small church, but the words of Dylan stand engraved for all eternity in my heart. He came at Christmas then celebrated with His closest friends the greatest reason for the greatest gift and went out to pray, be arrested and die.
This Christmas maybe Dylan’s words will speak that perfect praise of Jesus to your heart as well. He came to be born, to celebrate that life together with us and then to give the gift of his suffering on the cross for us. On Christmas morning when we wake and begin to open our gifts try to remember and allow that childish, exuberant and unfettered praise to flow from your lips. Come like both the wise men and the shepherds and offer what is in your heart to Him.