Accepting Children

Lord Jesus Christ, you received the children who came to you, receive also from the lips of your child this evening prayer.

She came skipping up to me in front of the musical staircase yesterday, an almost two year old girl in sparkly ruby slippers. Brown hair, big smile, holding a neon green cup.

“I can count! See the six over there?” Numbers and letters were flashing on the Museum of Science’s electronic events board. This little girl was certain I’d love to be part of her world, sixes and all. And she was right. It’s a miracle to be included in a child’s life, even in such a glancing way. A few words, a little dance, an offer to share her water was what she brought; through these things she gave herself.

A few minutes after she came, the little girl skipped away. She headed off to the Discovery Center with her mother while I climbed the stairs with my husband and a couple of teenagers.

How did that little girl know I’d listen, accepting her words, her world, her? One of the gifts of toddlerhood is the sure ability to know the difference between those who welcome them and those who pretend to.

Prayer is the same. Children come to Jesus because they know Jesus welcomes them. Their words are acceptable to him because they are acceptable to him. It’s too bad such an obvious and holy truth is often lost with the baby teeth.

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Johnna

I am a Christian educator and writer.I have worked in churches, denominational offices, and seminaries. I have a PhD in Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary, with a focus on Practical Theology and educating in faith. In 2010, my book, "How the Other Half Lives: the challenges facing clergy spouses and partners," was published by Pilgrim Press. I believe that words can build doorways that lead to encounters with God through the Spirit.

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