The example of a child’s faith
Like most things in 2020, this will be an Advent unlike any other. But each day, you can still take a few minutes to reflect on the coming of our savior at Christmas with short reflections on Scripture, written by the staff of America Media.
A reading from the Gospel of Luke:
Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said,
“I give you praise, Father, Lord of heaven and earth,
for although you have hidden these things
from the wise and the learned
you have revealed them to the childlike.
Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will.
All things have been handed over to me by my Father.
No one knows who the Son is except the Father,
and who the Father is except the Son
and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.”
Turning to the disciples in private he said,
“Blessed are the eyes that see what you see.
For I say to you,
many prophets and kings desired to see what you see,
but did not see it,
and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.”
Jesus spends much of his ministry upending people’s expectations, and this passage from the Gospels is no different. His disciples are rejoicing because Jesus has given them the power to cast out demons in his name. But the powers that Jesus has imparted upon the disciples are not gained through conventional wisdom. He says: “Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, but did not see it, and to hear what you hear, but did not hear it.” God has inverted the power structures that govern our world and placed true wisdom in the heart of a child.
And given that the entire Advent season revolves around the birth of the God-child, we should pause to consider what it is about children that makes them true reflections of God’s wisdom.
It might be their jammy-hands, which adults are always trying to wash clean, but which tell us that kids aren’t afraid to get dirty while they play. They’re not worried that they’ve got chocolate on their faces. And they certainly don’t worry about external appearances. Pride doesn’t cling to them.
It might be that they ask a million questions. “Why is the sky blue?” “Why do dogs have tails?” “Why do I have to take a nap?” Their souls are possessed by wonder and an insatiable curiosity for all that life brings. Unlike adults who sometimes ask questions to try to trap or impress others, children still have room for wonder.
Or it might be that children have the extraordinary gift of faith. They place their trust in their caregivers to feed them, clothe them and meet their basic needs. And when one of their needs goes unmet, they’re not afraid to cry out in protest. Perhaps we should think of a child’s tantrum as an honest expression of prayer.
Time and time again, Jesus lifts up children as examples of faith. It’s worth pondering what little secrets they’ve got that we the rest of us are called to remember.
- What are some of the immediate signs of power and wisdom that we mistake for God’s power?
- What do you see in children or those with a childlike spirit that is a reflection of God’s wisdom?
- Where can you make space for faith and wonder today?
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