Babies and small children are so enticing, aren’t they? They’re fun to watch and the smaller they are, the more miraculous they seem. Just looking at them and holding them engenders a sense of awe and wonder in me for the beauty and complexity of the human being while at the same time seeing total simplicity and dependence on others as a way of being in the world. Would that this sense of wonder would be in me each time I meet a person of any age, but circumstances change. Life takes over, independence dawns and we are off and running into the maze of cultural conditioning and peer pressure. There is work to be done and relationships to be developed, choices to make and confusions to be negotiated. I occasionally wish I were a young child again – usually when change and technology seem to be speeding me along to a place or places where I find everything hard to understand.
This morning in Matthew’s gospel (11:25) we hear Jesus praising God for what God has revealed to the “childlike” rather than to the clever and learned ones. I don’t think he’s talking about the secrets of the universe – scientifically speaking – or infused knowledge or anything like that. I think he wants people to be able to strip away all the accretions that living in this world bonds to us and remember who we really are: magnificent creations brought here to manifest the love of God and become that love so that everyone we encounter will be reminded of the One who brought us here. I hope I see a lot of children today who still take delight in the small things and can play for hours crawling in and out of a box or sleeping beside their dog or smiling at the adult trying so hard to get them to smile. If I am awake those moments will surely remind me to stop and give praise as Jesus did for the wonder of us, God’s children.