Filled with the magic we know we have lost


Child: Small human being. Believes he/she is the centre of the universe. Has parents to serve his/her every need and whim. In the absence of what society would call “language” he/she develops a secret language known only to his/her parents. Regards each day as a new adventure. Spends many hours doing what society labels “playing”, but the child has no label so uses each moment for personal learning and growth. Because the child never fails – the child simply has yet to master the correct way of doing something. However, the child will forcibly resist attempts to make the child a team player – “the team” being immediate siblings and friends or family. These are seen as predators by the child: they remove the child’s possessions, they demand time and focus given to the child, and they have a strangely similar approach to living as the child: “What’s yours is mine, and what’s mine is mine.” The child and another child have much in common!

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

We have seen a lot of the little people over our Christmas festivities. They are as cruel as they are cute. They are as demanding as they are giving. They are ultimately self-centred little brats who consume everything around them without much visible gratitude.

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

But I find it impossible NOT have a relationship with a child. They just “relate” without even trying!

And have you ever noticed how they will walk past an outstretched and loving (hopeful) pair of hands – sidestepping the unspoken request for a hug if that person is not to their liking? And then (as children are perverse) how – quite often – they will also make a beeline for the one person you cannot stand? Why is that? Why don’t they see in “that person” what we see in “that person”?

Little people are odd. Strangely honest. Weirdly self-centred. Totally focused on themselves. Yet filled with the magic we know we have lost in our growing-up.

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

I think God’s reward to parents is to become “grandparents”. It is being a parent with all the cruddy bits neatly removed. It is connecting with a child who leaves all the worst bits behind. It is relationship between a child and a grown-up on a higher plane!

I think that is the kind of thing Jesus meant when He said: “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Not that we all become raving hedonists. But that we take the best of a child and leave the crud behind. That we re-find the fun, the generosity, the simplicity … the adventure that is life. And then we find out how it is impossible NOT to have a relationship with our Lord and Father. A relationship that (I find) becomes more and more like grandparent to grandchild. The best of relationship with all the crud missing – and then becomes more and more partnership – less and less formal. Less and less looking at “God’s kneecaps”. Less and less jumping up on a “big lap”. Just more and more “in each other” – within – indwelling –  living – alive – real. That becomes a relationship without label.

So as we leave the cute stable with its perfectly lit props, I find God Soft Hands Jesus smiling. Smiling in expectation and desire. The desire to see each of us finding it impossible NOT to have relationship – a relationship that develops and grows. That moves into whatever you and He decide works for you and He.

Before we get caught up in Lent and the cross and all that banging nails into each other  – is there space in your heart for the King of Kings?  Is there space in your heart for a relationship that is living and dynamic? A relationship that grows. A relationship of bond not of bondage – a bond of love.

I see my GSHJ smiling at each of us.  I see my GSHJ as a child sees. A child with all the crud taken out. A child that says “He is enough for all of us.” A child that says “Come and connect!”  A child that knows we are all connected. A child that sees each day as a new adventure with Him and each other.

So as we mentally pack away Christmas – do we have that space for our Lord – and will we each share it with Him?

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11 thoughts on “Filled with the magic we know we have lost

  1. I think that’s part of the joy of being a teacher, Paul. I would get to have all these wonderful young children around me all day, learning and laughing and rapt with attention, and then in the afternoon send them home to their parents to act out the “cruddy bits!”
    Add children are all about relationships and connectedness (and yes, they are sometimes cruel) and love, and are definitely self-centered because their little brains are wired that way until a certain age, but it is so delightful to be reminded every day to see life through their eyes because it reminded me of how to see life through the eyes of Jesus.
    And it gave me a solid foundation for seeing other people that way. And I’m so thankful for those hundreds of children, and thankful to God for allowing me to learn from them.

  2. “…a relationship of bond not bondage…” I love this :). I don’t follow and do the right things out of fear, but out of my desire to love and please Him :). Love this post!! I have always loved being around children! Everything is new and exciting…they are curious and full of energy and life! I hope to one day experience the joy of being a grandparent 🙂 hope you had a wonderful Christmas!

    • Julie – you have something to look forward to!! Exhausting – but wonderful! We had a great Christmas, and hope yours was just as much loving fun! ((hugs))

  3. I love this, Paul. I love being around children and soaking up their wonder and awe and even the most trivial of things. Their innocence is so refreshing. “Let the children come to me…” And let me learn to be more like them.

    • Mark, thank you. As much as that what struck me writing this post was the “relationship” – they have no fear. Their curiosity overcomes that. I think we should all “let me learn to be more like them”! Apart form the tantrums – obviously! 🙂

      Big loving squishy cuddles to your tight little family ((hugs))

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