One Sunday the children in my class of three-year-olds at church were having a heated debate. During the course of most Sunday lessons I am called many different names by my young students including Mommy or Hey You. I am comfortable with all of these names but the children often feel they must educate their fellow students about my “real” name which happens to be the one they like to call me.
One tiny thin-boned little girl took a deep breath, placed one hand on her hip, pointed the other at her rowdy male classmates and stated emphatically, “Her name is Sister Baadsgaard!”
“No she’s not,” a boisterous little boy answered jumping to his feet with his fists forming punching machines ready to defend his claim. “Her name is Grandma!”
Another little boy with big blue eyes and long eye-lashes who rarely spoke whispered, “Her name is teacher.”
That day at church we sang, I’m trying to be like Jesus by Janice Kapp Perry. The words welded those children to my heart as I sang, “I’m trying to be like Jesus; I’m following in his ways. I’m trying to love as he did in all that I do and say.”
The children in my class didn’t know the words to that song and they didn’t appear to be watching the chorister. One boy poked his neighbor. One child crawled out the back of the folding chair and another started disrobing. Though it appeared they weren’t listening, they were. It occurred to me that these children were already like Jesus. I was the one who needed to live the meaning of that song.
During his ministry Jesus often asked for the children to be brought to him. Then he told the adults to behold them with new eyes and become like a child – humble, submissive, teachable and quick to love and forgive. Jesus always had the time to love and bless people one by one; each soul received his individual time and attention.
When all my children were small, I could never find baby Jesus in the nativity set during the holiday season. I usually located the tiny porcelain babe in a manger tucked away under my daughter’s pillow or hidden under my son’s bed. I finally understood that each of my children wanted baby Jesus for themselves. So I purchased a nativity set for each of them.
When my children are young they call out to me in the blackness of their bedroom for comfort and reassurance when they feel lonely and scared. As adults my children call me on the phone when life is hard and they feel sad or afraid. I try to tell them what Jesus would say if he were on the other end of the line. Yet I always feel inadequate and limited in my ability to bless.
That’s why each of us needs our own Jesus. Christ gives hope to a confused world and to us. Because of Jesus we know love conquers fear and the meek will eventually inherit the earth. It doesn’t matter what we call him but if we call him. Whether we call him Savior, “Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6) or simply friend – if we call him, we’ll never be alone or comfortless again.