Jamie, a precocious 7-year-old with curly auburn hair, steel blue eyes, and a slight lisp when she talks, was walking backward through her house. Her dad spotted her as she passed the living room couch, as she glanced behind her, making sure she didn’t hit anything along the way.
“Whatcha doin’, Jamie?” Dad asked.
“I’m walking back in time so I can see Ma Maw,” she replied.
“But Ma Maw died, Jamie.”
“I know, but Mom told me last night that time moves forward, so I thought if I walk backward long enough Ma Maw might be there.”
Jamie is onto something isn’t she? Wouldn’t it be nice to walk backward through life, find our past, and the possibility of a “City Slickers’ do-over?” Aren’t there words we’d like to take back, habits begun in haste, friends we’ve hurt, rebukes we wish we could rephrase, selfish hoards we could’ve shared, decisions that have proved catastrophic, and relationships we’ve treated like cheap glass thrown against a stone fireplace.
“But do-overs are a pipe dream,” you say.
That’s true, but in a very real sense, the birth of Christ gives Christians a life do-over. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of the One who has given all of creation a reason to hope that a do-over is in the cards.
The selfishness, pride, insensitivity, and sloth we have practiced are all forgiven at the foot of the cross, which was made possible by Christ’s birth. Those sins are washed away as far as the east is from the west in God’s eyes.
The real scars that our tasteless actions have left in our friends and loved ones can never be completely erased from the human psyche, but it is amazing what a genuine, sincere apology and request for forgiveness can accomplish. When it is accompanied by an observable change of heart and behavior, then it can really be a cause for beginning a relationship anew.
Why is this important now? We live in a world filled with anxiety, emptiness, and hopelessness. Christmas reminds us that Jesus came to turn the world’s systems upside down, or better said, right-side up. And more importantly, He came to give every individual a chance for a clean slate, a new birth—a do-over. With this new do-over He gave us His power, His wisdom, and His strength. We start this new life now never alone, and with a hope that the Ma Maws of our lives who knew Christ will one day be there with us, not walking backward, but moving forward toward maturity.
Yes, Jamie is onto to something big: a Christmas filled with the hope that Christ has given us a wonderful opportunity at a do-over.