Becoming a child again

A Christmas Reflection

There is nothing more wonderful than watching a child play. Their freedom and lack of inhibition. Their ability to simply get lost in their own world. Their simple love of play.

I remember how much I looked forward to Christmas as a boy. How much anticipation there was watching the presents amass under the Christmas tree. The sheer joy of unwrapping the first present. I still remember the excitement of seeing my first (and only) pedal car being wheeled in as the last gift to be presented. I guess it was a little difficult to wrap.

But life seems to get in the way as we grow up. We seem to take less pleasure in simple things. I remember one Christmas that our baby girl at the time seemed to have more joy from the wrapping paper than her gifts. But, we adults are not like that.

Why is this so?

There are probably many good reasons for this. Life has a habit of wearing you down. Responsibilities amass. The unexpected, such as Covid-19 outbreaks, throw your plans into chaos. Sickness, ageing… the list goes on.

Yet, this week I was reminded of something that Jesus said

Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.

Gospel of Mark

I’ve often mused about what was so special to Jesus about little children. Is it their openness? Is it the unaffected way in which they approach life?

Perhaps the greatest thing that I have learned from my children and grandchildren is their sheer ability to forgive their parents (and grandparents). A child loves their parent so very simply. It’s as natural as breathing. (Of course, small children are demanding, but we’re not thinking about that at the moment.)

My prayer and hope for you this Christmas is that you love those around you like a little child. That you can loosen the grip around your grudges, that you can somehow forgive as naturally as you can breath.

Perhaps more importantly, above all the noise and frustration of an extraordinarily demanding year, you may be able to understand a little better why Jesus actually came into this world.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn’

Fall on your knees, oh hear the Angels’ voices

Oh, night divine, oh night when Christ was born

Oh, night divine…

Oh Holy Night

Every blessing!

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