I travelled with friends to the Magic Kingdom of Disney World a few times as a teenager and a young adult. When we walked – or ran – through the theme park, our mission was to go on as many of the big rides as possible by the end of the day and leave before dark. Our trip was planned by speed and efficiency, not by awe and admiration. We would snicker at the crowds of people waiting for shows and parades. The castle shows and fireworks were a distraction from the nobler pursuit of riding roller coasters!
The Wednesday after Christmas, Erin and I took our children to the Magic Kingdom. Since none of the members of my family had been to the park I tried to let them experience it all with the wonder and joy warranted by such a magical place. I inwardly cringed when we saw a crowd forming for shows, but I was transported to a place of innocence as I watched the performances. When we happened on a street parade, I suppressed my instinct to run in the opposite direction, and I wound up laughing and clapping with joy. As the night settled in, and the fireworks and light show lit up the night, I had a feeling of contentment and happiness that surpassed every other Disney experience.
As it turns out, the very things that I avoided in the past were sources of profound excitement and fun! Driving home that evening, after over twelve hours at Disney, I realized that people often miss so much beauty because of their haste or anxiety. Scripture tells us to focus on the pure and beautiful things in life, perhaps to ward off the negative impact of the ugliness and filth of sin. Notice what Philippians 4:8 says is worthwhile of your attention. "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy--meditate on these things." Don't miss the beauty and purity and praiseworthy things in life because you are too distracted or injured by ugliness. Have fun this year, and be a kid (Mark 10:14-15) at heart!