I recently ran across the hymn written by Catherine Hankey, “Tell Me the Old, Old Story.”
The first stanza reads:
“Tell me the old, old story of unseen things above,
Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and His love.
Tell me the story simply, as to a little child,
For I am weak and weary, and helpless and defiled.”
The very thought of this request was simple, pure and refreshing to me and served as a good reminder that the important things of God can be enjoyed by all of us. Christmas is far more than a holiday for children; it is historically an old, old story that never loses its freshness when told simply today. While there are certainly times for theological challenges to our thinking, the blessed and simplest truths of God should always retain the forefront of our attention. The Apostle Paul cautioned the Corinthian believers to not allow their minds to “be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 11:3
Beginning with the Christ child being born in a manger, God asks us to have simple faith in His redemptive plan for man. Jesus told us in Matthew 18:3 that unless we become like little children, we will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Children adore the manger story, marvel at the stories of the miracles of Jesus and accept the events of the cross as part of his life.
We do not ask children to trust in a dead Jesus, but in One who, though He died for our sins, was raised by the Father for our justification. I have yet to hear a child question the resurrection. In the child’s mind, Jesus is very much alive and lives in heaven. He is not a mere memory; and He is special! He is a prince who loves me, cares about me when I am hurt and watches over me during the long hours of the night when there are threatening shadows and scary sounds.
The child’s mind has learned that everybody sins, that God dislikes my sin and that the devil tries to get me to sin. But the power of Jesus to save me and forgive my sins is always greater! So, when I fall, Jesus is my Prince that fights off the evil forces and rescues me with His great power. And, no I have never seen Jesus but that doesn’t matter because I just know He is there. Oh, and someday I’ll see Him, I don’t know when, but I will.
So, tell me the story simply, as to a little child. Tell it to me in a way that my God given imagination can conjure the greatness, the power and the majesty of Jesus. How He came as a baby in a manger and was watched over by the animals, how He asked Zacchaeus to come down out of the sycamore tree and how He calmed the sea. How He walked on the water and took the little children into his everlasting arms and died on a cross for me.
It is good for me to visualize a place on the brow of the hill of life where a child stands silhouetted against the evening sky and is filled with wonderment as he gazes into the heavens. It is equally good for me to remember that there is a place beside that little child for us as adults. For it is here that we find that all our fervent searches into the mysteries of God will always lead us to the very brink of His greatness and leave us standing motionless in silent wonderment. And that is not a bad place to be.
Chester Jones is the pastor of Calvary Bible Chapel