Every year, when we get out our Christmas representation, I look at the tiny baby Lord, wrapped in swaddling cloths and am amazed that the God of heaven and earth chose to be born among us. For a time He was a baby and our celebration of His birth somehow calls to the innocence in us that mirrors a baby’s innocence and even more, the Lord’s own Divine innocence. Christmas cheer has a simple, uncomplicated joy to it, more akin to a child’s joy than most of our normal interactions. Christmas songs joyfully call out thanks, praise and wonder that our Lord chose to come on earth, so that we could see Him and love Him. Quiet times at Christmas seem more full of wonder and hope than other times of the year. Much of daily life doesn’t seem to welcome it, but for a time, we stop and appreciate with wonder what the Lord has done and is doing for us.
Innocence is the fundamental spiritual quality that we need to develop, so embracing the spirit of Christmas, not just in December, but all year round, is a good idea. It involves allowing the Lord to guide us in the way that children allow their parents to guide them.
The Lord says many powerful things about innocence. Consider these teachings from Heaven and Hell, as they apply to the Christmas story:
It is in innocence that heaven is stored up in a person. (276)
Angels want to be guided by the Lord, and not by themselves. (278)
They live content with what they have, whether it is little or much,
because they know that the amount they receive
is what is right for them. (278)
They do not actually know what is right for them,
only the Lord does, and in His sight everything He provides
has an eternal value. (278)
Angels do not worry about the future,
which for them means being anxious about tomorrow,
and they say this only brings grief,
because it is worrying about the loss of things
that are not necessary for leading useful lives. (278:2)
Innocence attributes nothing of goodness to itself,
but ascribes everything good to the Lord,
and hence loves to be guided by the Lord. (278:2)
Because innocence is at the heart
of everything good belonging to heaven
it has such an effect on the mind that people experiencing it
– as when an angel from the inmost heaven approaches –
have the feeling of being no longer in control of themselves,
and that therefore they feel they are being
overcome and carried away, so to speak,
by such a feeling of delight that all the delight of the world
seems nothing in comparison with it. (282)
What can you do to embrace a little bit more of the spirit of innocence this season?
May your Christmas be filled with wonder and joy!