GodReflection: What Make God Smile?
And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them (Mark 10:16).
There is one aspect of the Santa Claus myth that even as an adult still draws me. I love the image of his outstretched arms that invite children to climb upon his lap.
It’s a mutual extension of arms. Countless times you’ve seen it—the little child with arms raised high with great anticipation of a warm lap and a welcome embrace.
Why is it so hard to ascribe personality to Jesus who took the form of a man? Since we are told by Luke that Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man, I assume people enjoyed his company.
If he came to reflect a picture of God, wouldn’t it be assumed he wants us to know we can see God when we see Jesus?
Children are frequent guest throughout the Jesus narrative of the four gospels. They are specifically mentioned as Jesus feeds the two crowds of the five thousand plus and the four thousand plus.
A special note was made that it was the children who were shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” which provoked Jesus to say to his adult audience, “have you never read, “‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”
His invitation was “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
Time and again he looked at the qualities of children who so readily sought his warm lap and from their example taught his adult listeners, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus message to me and to everyone who has walked upon the soil of earth is: “Whoever welcomes one of these little children in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me does not welcome me but the one who sent me.”
Just as Jesus opens his warm embrace and his lap to little children through him we can climb into the lap of the Holy Father.
Back to the personality of Jesus. Can’t you see it must have been his smile that put the children at ease? His stern expressionless face portrayed by artist would never attract children. Rather, his friendly smile and kind eyes called out to them. I suspect the sight of a child fueled his smile.
So, what makes God smile? If I learn anything from Jesus, I conclude God must smile each time He sees one of His children approach.
Obviously, he made a big impression on the apostle John. As an old man who still has story upon story to share from the days he walked with Jesus and saw his love for children, I would guess it made the old apostle smile to pen: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!
Don’t you imagine you and I would cause Father God to smile if only we would approach Him, reach for His extended arms and crawl upon His lap?
Dr. Gary J. Sorrells
A GodReflection on God Smiles When Children Approach