Tuesday, December 1, 2009

About the Tooth . . . and the Truth

My granddaughter Avery recently lost a front tooth. What great timing! She might have problems saying, “Sister Susie sitting on a thistle,” but during this holiday season she can now legitimately sing, “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth.”

Having grandkids, I have learned, helps to remind us of things we thought we had forgotten – such as the wonder of discovery, the thrill of trying new things, the joy of having “Aha!” experiences every day. Like the familiar Christmas ornaments we pull out every year – they’re old hat to us, but fascinating to our 2 1/2-year old grandson. And the carols we have heard year after year? They’re new stuff to the little ones, and they never tire of singing them.

Then there’s the matter of baby teeth. Isn’t it amazing that losing a tooth is actually a sign of growing, of moving forward in life?

That’s true for all aspects of living, not just for childhood. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote, “When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me” (1 Corinthians 13:11). As we journey through life, change is unavoidable – we lose teeth, grow bigger, and adjust our behavior.

For the follower of Christ, growth also involves loss – giving up cherished things to gain things that are even more important. After his encounter with Jesus, John the Baptist said, “He must increase; I must decrease” (John 3:30). In a similar way, to experience life with Jesus to the fullest, we – our fleshly, self-centered desires and goals – must become less while His power and influence become greater in our lives.

Sounds difficult, but it can be as easy as losing a front tooth.

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