"For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.." Jesus
A few days ago, I watched astonished, as Jeff, my huge, scary German-Shepherd dog, became a little pup and followed my nephew around the room, nuzzling into his ear and behaving as if he'd found a long lost friend: All my nephew had done had been to walk into my house, kneel down and cuddle my huge fellow, then tickle his tummy and roll him over.
And that absolutely child-like behaviour made the dog his best friend!
There's this anecdote of a Santa Claus in a shopping mall: He wasn't any ordinary Santa, maybe it was the real beard, or maybe it was the twinkle in his eye when he talked to the kids. He came as close to the genuine Santa as anyone could have. The kindly old man worked as Santa Claus at a resort all year round and, for most people, he was just about the real thing.
One year, he was asked, "You must really love children."
"Yes, I do," he said. "And adults, too. Many adults want to sit with me for a picture!"
"Oh, yes," he replied. "As a matter of fact, 14 of the people who came to visit me yesterday, were adults!" And then he said something strange, "All of us have a child inside of us. It's a terrible thing when you lose that!"
I think I know what he meant. Children are enthusiastic. They've not forgotten how to have fun. And they still feel awe and wonder and excitement.
"It's a terrible thing when you lose that," said Santa. I don't think he meant that we are to be childish and immature-just child-like. There is a difference.
To be child-like is to be fun loving, and ready to get lost in the present. It is to be innocent and trusting, quicker to embrace life and love. To be child-like is to not be disillusioned by the world or become too cynical about people. Those who are childlike laugh easily and often. They know there is plenty about this universe they may not understand, and that is okay. In fact, mystery is good. It fills them with awe.
Here are some quotes for you about being child-like:
"Great is the man who has not lost his child-like heart." Mencius
"I think you have to keep a child-like quality to play music or make a record." Beck
"It is the child-like mind that finds the kingdom" Charles Fillmore
"It is the mark of a great man that he puts to flight all ordinary calculations. He is at once sublime and touching, child-like and of the race of giants." Honore de Balzac
"The best actors, I think, have a child-like quality. They have a sort of an ability to lose themselves. There's still some silliness." Kenneth Branagh
"The process I go through in the art and the architecture, I actually want it to be almost child-like. Sometimes I think it's magical." Maya Lin
And this by Christopher Meloni, "You can be child-like without being childish!"
And as I saw Jeff, my fierce German Shepherd, change from a snarling wolf into a gentle pup, because someone became child-like in understanding him last night, I remember also what the Psalms say about being child-like, 'That the Lord protects those of child-like faith..!'