Advent 2020 – A Toy Faith

It’s the Christmas season. In my household this always brings much anticipation and it brings out the season’s decorations – including the kids’ toy nativity set. As I write, the stable lies on its back on my living room floor bursting with animals, wise men, a bale of hay and an angel lying on top of it all staring me dead in the eye. Tomorrow it will be moved – of that I am sure. Where it will be is yet to be seen. The entire contents may be moved in one motion without thought given to whether or not it can be moved in such a manner.

This same type of toy movement occurs when their toy vehicles go on rescue missions, look for buried treasure or find themselves on adventure in the great indoors. The rules of play state that the toys bend to the story, not the other way around. The story is not interrupted because that truck can’t fly, it’s model is simply upgraded whether an oration introducing the upgrade is provided or not. And here’s the thing – every other play participant now plays with a built-in assumption that the truck flies. 

It makes me wonder about the words of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew chapter 17 and verse 20, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move.” (NIV) God created an entire playground that we call “Earth” for the people he loves. And while he included with it several scientific laws, Jesus demonstrated that the created space also bends to THE story – his story. 

I read this verse in Matthew and I tend to think “what mountains do I need moved in my life?” But this isn’t really about us and the mountains we can move. There have been many times I have tried to include my story into the play that my kids were engaged in and they flatly reject it. Here I am trying to move a mountain into a story where it doesn’t belong.

As I think about Christmas, I picture my kids on Christmas morning. Their faces wild with anticipation and their eyes brightening with the excitement of new gifts and new worlds to explore that haven’t even been invented yet. I wonder what limits will be stretched and which scientific laws will be suspended. And I ponder, what kinds of mountains will they yet move?

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