At the heart of Christmas is the celebration of God’s most precious gift to us—His Son. But God has given us many other gifts, including one we often neglect.
What am I talking about? The gift of creativity.
God is, above all else, Creator. Everything that exists—from a drab piece of dust to the most glorious rose—came straight from His imagination. When God created Adam and Eve, he made them in His own image, capable of both imagining and creating new things. To underline this reality, God gave Adam the honor of naming the animals He’d just brought into being.
Yet, when I talk to most people, I don’t see excited, active creators, bubbling with ideas and plans. Instead, I see questioners who seem to be waiting for others to lead, who doubt their own abilities, and who seem to need permission to dream. Sometimes I want to scream.
It’s as if we’re afraid of any kind of change.
We laugh at the old, “But we’ve always done it this way!” complaint one tends to hear in meetings whenever someone suggests doing things a different way, but the truth is we do resist change—and therefore creativity—all the time. And of course, the problem is that by resisting creativity, we’re actually resisting God, refusing to open one of the precious gifts he gave us when He made us in His image.
I’ve seen this happen so often, in many organizations, including churches. Creative people, who simply want to use their talents and gifts, have ideas that don’t fit in. So they wind up either getting into arguments with the leadership, wandering around the fringes, moving on, or just giving up. Leaders can also feel constrained to keep things the same rather to make changes that would make others uncomfortable.
Why is it like this? I believe it’s because, in our humanity, both as individuals and as groups, we prefer things to be done in ways we understand and can control. Madeline L’Engle, in her book, Walking on Water, says, “We are afraid of that which we cannot control; so we continue to draw in the boundaries around us, to limit ourselves to what we know and understand. Thus we lose our human calling because we do not dare to be creators, co-creators with God.”
The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, tells us that the body of Christ will only become mature “as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:16). That “work” involves seeing every one of us functioning as God intended, making full use of our creativity and bringing life to the unique dreams God has placed in each of our hearts.
There are no unnecessary people or fringe people in God’s eyes.
My hope is that every person might be encouraged and empowered to use their gifts to the very best of their ability, and for the good of all, without fear or embarrassment.
I have a suggestion for this Christmas. After we’ve opened the gifts our friends and family give us, and thanked God for His Son, how about we each spend some time thinking about the creativity we have buried somewhere inside us, and asking God what He wants us to do with it?
And then maybe we can share our dream with some of our friends and look for ways we can help each other become everything God created us to be.