The story of Jesus blessing the children is one the most endearing events in the life of Jesus. The parents seeking to have the children blessed; the disciples trying to turn them away, assuming Jesus doesn’t have time for insignificant children; Jesus rebuking the disciples and welcoming the children, taking them into his arms and blessing them.
We immediately recognize Jesus’ tenderness and compassion for children, but perhaps we fail to recognize one of the roots of his compassion. The Book of Hebrews said that Jesus, the eternal Son of God, had to be made like us in every way so that he could sympathize with us in our weaknesses and be a help to us in our trials. Christmas reminds us that part of his human experience was the experience of a child. He went through all the stages of human development as child in the womb, an infant, a toddler, a youngster and a pre teen.
Jesus looked on the children and remembered his helplessness as a child: how he was dependent on his parents for food, shelter and clothing. How he was weak and vulnerable and needed protection. He was moved to protect these children with his arms and prayers because he remembered the comfort he received from Mary’s arms and Joseph’s prayers. He was moved to love these children for he had been a child himself and knew their fears and weaknesses.
Jesus came as a human child because he came to be the savior of human children and of everyone who would receive him with childlike faith. Tonight we light the Christmas candle in thanksgiving for the new born baby Jesus, savior of infants and everyone who will cry out to him in their need.