“Not now, I’m Busy.” How many times have we adults and parents brushed away a child asking us for something or inviting us into their world with words like these? We can get so caught up in our busy lives that we all too often think we have too little time or patience for children. Our tasks can seem so important compared to a child’s seemingly trivial concerns. If there was any adult who had so much “important” work as to not have time for children, it would have been Jesus. But, in the midst of his journey towards Jerusalem, when the pressure to get his message out was great, Jesus made time for children. When his disciples scolded their parents for bothering the Master with someone so trivial as children, Jesus rebukes them by saying, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”
Children are like lights. They sparkle with wonder, imagination, love and faith. The second we take the time to stop what we’re doing and welcome a child into our heart, we become illuminated by their light. And for a moment, our worries go away and our burdens are lightened. It is this magic that I tried to capture in paint.
Although the scene here is not literal to the context of the story, I believe the message still speaks. Jesus often went off by himself to pray. I imagined him taking such a rest under a tree in the heat of the day. Some children, who may have been playing near by, happen across Jesus. More children of different ages approach Jesus. Some are reserved. Some frolic and prance, some tug and play with his cloak. Jesus welcomes them all. The scene is speckled with light dancing through the trees. And the Kingdom of God is displayed.
So the next time a child comes to you to show you their drawing, tell you what they’ve discovered, asks you for help, or invites you to play tag, take a moment and welcome them into your so busy and complicated life. You just might be enlightened by a glimpse of the Kingdom of God.