Christmas: The time of year when we release our inner child.
The vibrantly wrapped presents under the tree, the crooning music, and the sparkling lights on every corner tug our hearts back to a time of foggy memories and free spirits. We can be excited. We can be spontaneous. We can be little kids.
And then the colorful paper is torn off and shoved in the trash, the music fades away, and the decorations are boxed up. For some of us, that inner child has its own box, tucked between the advent calendars and the stockings. There it will sit, in the quiet and the dark, yearning to come bounding out but enclosed by a false perception of maturity.
It doesn’t have to be this way.
Being mature doesn’t mean being responsible (every single moment).
Okay, yes, responsibility is important. Where would we be if, every time we had a chore, we ran outside and hit our little brothers with foam swords? Probably grounded.
But do you remember that excuse your dad, mom, or older sibling would use when you wanted their attention? I can’t; I’m too busy.Being mature is knowing when you can afford to set your responsibilities aside, it doesn't mean never setting them aside. Click To Tweet
There will always be things to get done.
During Christmas, many of us have big chunks of time off and we don’t feel guilty for relaxing, but once New Year’s Eve rolls past, our responsibilities return. We’re back to throwing ourselves on the whack-a-mole game of life to keep down the moles of homework and job. We’re scared that if we take our eyes off them for a moment, the molehills will turn into mountains and we’ll be buried.
But here’s a little secret: The world will not fall apart if you take five minutes to play.
Being mature doesn’t mean not playing.
Play is a gift, especially if you’re feeling overwhelmed with life. Being mature is knowing where and what kind of play is appropriate. You don’t need to feel guilty for enjoying activities that others may term childish.
Whether it’s with kids you’re babysitting, children at church, or younger siblings (especially siblings), take the time to join in a game of tag or hide-n-seek. If you’re not in a position for group-play, then build a sandcastle, watch cartoons, flip through a picture book, or eat raw cookie dough.
Whatever your inner child is yearning to do, go ahead and let him or her do it. Simply exercise wisdom in the what and the where. Don’t let fear of criticism stop you.
We are all children.
“Look at how great a love the Father has given us that we should be called God’s children!” (1 John 3:1).
When God looks at us, He doesn’t classify us as ‘over twelve’ or ‘under twelve’. He doesn’t see us and think we’re ‘not old enough to do that’ or ‘past the age to do that’. He simply sees us, our likes and dislikes, who we are—His children.
The Bible calls us to be mature (Hebrews 6:1), but that doesn’t mean we have to box away our inner child with the Christmas decorations. Being mature is about knowing when and where it is appropriate to have fun.
This coming year, when the holidays are over and the stress of life returns, set aside some time to journey up to the attic, hunt down that lonely little box, and open the flaps. Release your inner child.
“Jesus, however, invited them: ‘Let the little children come to Me, and don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these” (Luke 18:16).