They beckon us with giggles to listen for secret wisdom, to accept divine hugs through little arms, and welcome messy, glorious virtue kisses pressed upon our weary cheeks. How significant that Jesus appeared to the earth as a little, laughing, noisy, Child of Promise. He simply and desperately loved us, even unto death.
It is, therefore, our job to provide an environment of hospitality where our children's weaknesses are minimized and their gifts and talents can advance, and be acknowledged, strengthened and released to a waiting world. The necessity of this extreme hospitality might worry us if it weren't for how desperately we love them and want to welcome them, these promise carriers.
Instead it might comfort us to remember that He chose us to receive the love they are, and in receiving them as guests and not possessions, we might reveal to them that they have something priceless to offer, something beautiful, something of the image of God: their love.
We must offer the same hospitality in our own hearts, allow Him to minimize our own weaknesses and use our strengths, as we too carry a promise to the world. In this way we can prepare to welcome His promise for us this Christmas: a Child, a Promise, a matchless Love.
At times my priorities are so askew I forget there is any such thing as intrinsic value, and that through God, I can glimpse it, but both the Jesus Child, and my own children teach me that the mystery of love isn't something that is gradually diminishing in a modern world; it simply grows with my simplicity.
And truly, I reiterate, nothing's small!
No lily-muffled hum of a summer-bee,
But finds some coupling with the spinning stars,
No pebble at your foot, but proves a sphere.
No finch but implies a cherubim;
And glancing on my own thin, veined wrist,
In such a little tremor of blood
The whole strong clamour of a vehement soul
Doth utter itself distinct. Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
But only he who sees takes off his shoes.
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries,
And daub their faces unaware. -Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Aurora Leigh
Sonja Corbitt is a contributing writer for Catholic Online - sonjacorbitt(at)pursuingthesummit.com.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: Christ child, children, baby Jesus, child of Promise, spiritual childhood, little way, children
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