People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it. But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” ~ Luke 18:15-17
I remember when my daughter Alex was a little child. About one or two. And when I really, really wanted to see her smile, sometimes all it took was handing her the simplest thing: a box, a magazine, my cell phone to play with, and a smile would light up her face.
As we get older, that sense of whimsy doesn't seem to stay, does it? Not consistently anyway.
Every now and then though, you get a gift that just makes the child in you grin from ear to ear. It touches you in just that place in your heart that makes you remember what it's like to be that child.
To be that open. To be that joyful. To be that excited and grateful.
God wants us to receive the Kingdom of God just like that.
If we think of the Kingdom of God as being now. Present. Among us, as we read yesterday, then that rush of excitement in receiving that gift can capture us any moment.
That joy at receiving the gift that fills our heart is available any time.
We've become very practiced and used to ways that keep the joy at bay. Expectations, busyness, competing priorities, emotional upheavals, suffering, and anger all work to prevent us from seeing that which is right in front of us. All work to tell us that we are capable, competent adults who should handle our own problems, fix our own issues, rather than children of God who can rely on a gracious redeemer who wants nothing more than to fill us to the brim with abundant love and grace.
It is true that life will sometimes wear us down. That we aren't always going to feel the joy of a little child.
But that joy is always there beckoning us. Ready for us to open our arms and our hearts and dive right in.
Lord God, I am your child. Remind me always and open my eyes to the joy your offer! Amen.