I’ve got it! I know why Jesus chooses little children, and those who are like them, to live in his Kingdom! They are not self-conscious or uptight or judgmental or worried what others will think. They instinctively know they need, indeed are dependent on, loving care from big people around them. They naively assume (in the best sense of that word) that all their needs will be supplied (if not immediately, then big crocodile tears and/or the calling out of the magic word, “Mama!” will fix whatever is amiss). They are the epitome of spontaneity, innocence, unbridled joy. They live in a perpetual state of surprise and delight and display all that big emotion on their faces and in their wiggly, squiggly bodies. Not even Jesus could resist the ear-to-ear, impish grins, the eyes with that certain sparkle, the bouncing, on tiptoe, happy dancing. I think, just like for parents and grandparents, Jesus’ lifting a little child onto his lap to hug them and snuggle them, brought as much joy to him as to the child. Maybe there’s a subconscious hope that some of that effervescence will be contagious.

There’s a really good chance that, because He’s God, the Holy Spirit, too, responds super positively to all childlikeness in us. The corollary to that is His disappointment when he finds us dull or disinterested or glum, or pre-occupied with scrabbling together our own mini Kingdoms, or with shoring up the façade of our public image. If Jesus is our Waymaker, then the Holy Spirit is our Joymaker. As we accept his invitations to join him in myriad divine encounters planned with the Father and the Son, we can be assured that we, too, will find ourselves living with perpetual surprise and delight. How long has it been since we felt that jolt of happy, spontaneous, grinning-in-spite-of-ourselves, anticipation at accepting one of those invites? Maybe he has something cool in store for us tomorrow at 10 AM, 4 PM, 6 PM. Just sayin.’  PD

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