Back in the 90’s there was a music and dance craze called the Macarena. And yes, I’ll admit, I danced to it once or five times. I was young and in college, I didn’t know better. And then, in like 97 I was given a gag gift for Christmas–the Macarena monkey. It’s a monkey that sings the Macarena. Simple (and annoying) enough. And for some reason, 16 years later, I haven’t gotten rid of it. It’s old enough to drive. It has the original batteries in it. And I don’t know why I’ve kept it.
And then my daughter, my 4 1/2 year old daughter, found it. And plays it–over and over and over and over again. And she laughs. She loves it. There’s a pureness to her laugh. There’s a genuine enjoyment in her laugh. I wince and want to gag. Bad memories come back to mind. And she laughs. There’s that pureness that enlightens my heart when I hear her laugh at the bane of my existence (okay, that’s a bit tough, but it’s the Macarena for crying out loud).
And then something hit me this morning when I was doing my devotions. I read
“Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure.” Titus 1:15 NLT
Now, I’m not saying that my daughter is a perfect angel. She’s, well, she can be a spitfire and a handful at times. She’s the result of the mother’s curse (you know the one–“May you have children just like you”). But there’s still a pureness to her. A childlike faith that she has as a, well, child. In her laughter there’s that joy.
And then there’s her childlike faith. Her ability to articulate who God is in her own mind. Her way of articulating how Jesus lives with her in her heart in her own little ways. The same is true with my 7 year old. He has told me that Jesus lives in his heart. He prays with a child like faith because, well, he is a child.
At my installation this last Sunday, there was a time of prayer. And my son came up to lay hands on me and he prayed with the rest of the people. He prayed “God, help my dad be a good preacher.” He was honest in his faith. He was pure in his faith.
And so, I think of the laughter towards the Macarena monkey. I never did like the thing yet I don’t know why I never got rid of it. Yet it is loved by my children. And in their love and enjoyment, I find peace and love. I find the peace and love in something that used to greatly annoy me.
This gives me a strength to my faith. This strengthens me because I know that through my children, I can experience that childlike faith. Through my children I can experience what it means to have Jesus in my heart. Through my children I can see the world in a whole new light. I can see Jesus in a whole new way through their eyes.
So, I won’t get rid of the Macarena monkey. And if the batteries do finally give out, I might just even replace them. Eventually they’ll get bored of the monkey. Eventually the laughter will stop towards the monkey. Yet, I want to make sure that the laughter itself never ends. I want to make sure that the laughter and the love for God and Jesus never ends. And so, I know I must kindle that faith in them. I know that I must be there for them and encourage them and strengthen them as their faith has strengthened me.