Come as a little child
Psalm 8: 2 & Matthew 19: 14 (NIVUK)
2 Through the praise of children and infants
you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
to silence the foe and the avenger.
14 Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’
We are accustomed to thinking of Christmas as being a time for children. Perhaps it’s because the central character is a baby. Perhaps it’s because the celebrations have become so imbued with traditions such as Santa Claus which are targeted at children. Perhaps it’s because the Nativity is a story children enjoy and can relate to. Whatever the reason, children and Christmas seem to go together.
One Christmas some years ago, I was standing in a queue waiting to pay for a gift I was purchasing. In front of me was a young mother with her mother. She was recounting the story of her 4-year-old daughter’s Christmas request. “All she wanted was a colouring book,” the young mother said, “she had to be talked into the bike and the doll!” I thought how sad it was that a young child was being taught that Christmas was about greed and commercialism. I’m not suggesting that children can’t be greedy, but there is something about the unselfconsciousness of children that is a model for us all.
Children have an innate wisdom, and in their perceptiveness can often, like the prophet, speak God’s word into a situation. If Christmas and children go together perhaps it’s because children are so much open to the wonder of Christmas and more receptive to God’s message of peace and love to all humanity than we are as adults. With adulthood often comes cynicism; children, in that respect, are unspoiled. This Christmas, let’s rediscover our inner child and see again with the eyes of faith the wonder of it all.
Loving heavenly Father,
help me to come as a child
with wonder and acceptance,
unselfconscious in praise,
in love, and in faith.
may my heart be opened afresh
to the surprise of your coming
as a human baby
for the good of all humanity. Amen.