We’re walking together.
She’s holding my hand.
Well – my finger actually.
She’s only five after all.
My daughter and I are going fishing. It’s something of a tradition. When there’s the right combination of sunshine, breeze, and boredom, Hannah’s inner alarm clock goes off: “Daddy, can we go fishing?,” she asked. “Sure, honey. Get your shoes on,” I said.
I’m excited to take her fishing tonight because I know the dandelions are out. I saw them a few days ago – a yellow-bright glowing field that’s sure to make her smile with five-year-old-girl-joy. These are the scenes that fathers pray for. I can’t wait to see her reaction when she sees 10,000 flowers all dancing just for her.
We arrive at our fishing spot. But I can see the field ahead. My heart sinks. The dandelions have turned to seed overnight. The yellow-bright is gone. They’ve greyed and turned soft. The shimmering evening glow of yellow is now a dull grey mist. I wonder if she’ll be disappointed. But we keep walking.
When we round the corner to the field, she gasps.
Eyes open wide, mouth open next: “Daddy, look! A field full of wishes!”
Perspective changes everything. In dandelions as in spiritual things: What we usually assume to be the death of something is often the start of something infinitely more beautiful and valuable.
John 12 finds the disciples rounding an important corner in their journey with Jesus. The Master has arrived in Jerusalem to a fanfare of palm branches and shouts of “Hosanna!” Surely now was the time for the Kingdom, right? But in the middle of the hype, Jesus says some pretty sobering words: “My heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, take me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came…” (John 12:27).
Suddenly the hype dissipates.
The mood shifts.
Something difficult is about to happen.
He’s leaving soon.
He’s going to give Himself up.
As much as Christmas looks backward toward prophecy, it also looks forward to purpose. And it’s crucial to keep both in perspective. Jesus is clear: He was born so He could die. As we gather at the manger this Christmas, let’s also worship at the cross.