Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me.Matthew 18:2-5
Have you ever noticed that children have this joy about them that comes easily and naturally? While we are raising our children we tend not to notice it as easily. In fact, to be honest, aren’t we often annoyed by their exuberant joy? I think we become too focused on the quotidian necessities but as they relate to the past, present and future. We become blind to “this moment”.
But children do not. They can only live in this moment.
I came across an amazing article by Fr. Alexander Schmemann entitled Be Like Children. He says it very well…
A child does not yet know the fragmentation of life into past, present, and future, the sad experience of vanishing and irretrievable time. He is completely in the present; he is totally in the fullness of everything that is now, be it joy, be it grief.
A child is whole not only in relation to time, but in relation to all of life; he gives himself to everything with his entire being; he does not understand the world by deliberation, through analysis, or through one of his particular emotions, but with his whole being without reservation-and this is why the world is open to him in all of its dimensions.Fr. Alexander Schmemann
This is what Jesus meant when he said, “Become as little children.” We must learn to live in this present moment. We must let go of the past and not worry about the future. We must open our eyes to see the depth of this moment and the presence of God in this moment.
When my children were little I tried really hard to focus on these moments, like the one above. The utter joy that flowed that day, well at least in that moment was palpable. It was beautiful. And I took the time to capture it. But I didn’t often do that. I was often way too wrapped up in the tasks of the day or the worry for the future. As I still do way too often today.
But to find the joy I seek, to climb the ladder I wish to climb, I need to stop and become like these little children, these joy filled little children and see the moment for what it is. Filled with goodness, beauty and an ever-present living God.
My kids loved to be silly. I mistook their rambunctiousness as annoying far too often. May they forgive me. May God forgive me. And when I am with them now, may I learn to see the face of Christ in their eyes so that I can be in that moment with joy and love.
We all need to be like little children to see Jesus. My Christ give us courage and wisdom to do just that this day.
Have a joy-filled day!