19 December Mark 10: 13–16
My brothers and sisters don’t believe me. They say I was much too young, that I’m making it up, just repeating stories I’ve heard. But they’re wrong – I do remember! I remember the excitement of the mothers as they gathered us together, my mum carrying me so I didn’t get left behind. I remember the stony faces of those big, burly men, and the confusion when they tried to block our way to Jesus. But most of all I remember Jesus, though at the time I didn’t know who he was. The love in his eyes, the welcome of his arms, the gentleness of his touch – and a lovely warm feeling spreading from my head to the tips of my toes.
I don’t remember much of what he said, except something about the Kingdom of God belonging to ‘such as these’ – and he was talking about us, little children. That didn’t make sense! Children in our society were right at the bottom of the pile, ‘seen and not heard’, certainly of little account. How could this be? It puzzled me for a long time. Until, that is, I became a mum myself, and then I think I began to understand. When I look at my children and see the trust in their eyes, their unquestioning love, their dependence, their openness and honesty, well, maybe this was what Jesus meant. Oh, I know they will change as they grow up – we all do – become more independent, wiser to the ways of the world, lose that lovely simplicity, that innocence.
But can one put the clock back, recapture, regain those special childlike qualities? Is it possible, even for God? Even to receive his Kingdom?
Jesus, you came as a child to show us through your humility and obedience how to become children of God. Be born once more in our hearts this Christmas that we might enter your Kingdom and find our hope and joy in you.