Re-Learning the qualities of Children this Advent

December 3, 2019 – Tuesday of the First Week of Advent

Memorial of St Francis Xavier

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Do you know the average questions a child asks?

According to a survey, approximately, a child of about 3 to 5 years old, asks 300 questions a day with with an average of 1 question every 2 minutes. J These questions come from their curiosity. They marvel at everything and are amazed with everything and everyone. This makes a child welcoming to the many surprises that come.

The innocence of children, their simplicity and humility make them receptive to the many wonders that surround them. 

Thus, children easily recognize what is beautiful, good, amazing and surprising even with simple things. They easily get excited in a simple toy. They are delighted in a simple gift. They respond with pleasure to a simple smile.

These qualities are without aggression and arrogance but rather filled with humility and openness. It is just interesting how the Book of Isaiah also described the coming of the Messiah. He proclaimed that a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse. He is filled with the Spirit of wisdom and understanding. He shall be a just and kind judge and brings peace.

And as a shoot silently comes out from its branch and so is God. This tells us that God’s unfolding and revelations are done in silence. That is why, when God reveals himself, it is always simple, humble and even ordinary. God does not reveal himself in extravagance and mere popularity that only shows aggression and arrogance.

In the Gospel, Jesus reminds us how the Father reveals the mystery of salvation, of His gift of healing and peace to the children. Of course, God reveals His mystery to all but only the children and the childlike are blessed to receive God’s blessing, simply because of the qualities of being welcoming and humble. 

Jesus warned us adults of our tendency to claim that we already know everything. Yes, when we become adults we tend to claim our independence. We ceased to be curious because we become over confident to what we have achieved.

Jesus criticized the attitude of those people during His time who claimed to be the “masters of the world.” The knowledge that they have gained in many years of experiences prevented them to learn new things. They have become arrogant and unwelcoming. Thus, these attitudes blocked them to receive God’s revelations and invitations.

We have to be careful then, when we begin to be arrogant with our own success, when we feel superior of what we have become and over-confident of what we have accumulated. These attitudes might prevent us from recognizing the many wonders that God reveals and to His invitations for us. 

We are reminded today on this first week of Advent, to re-learn our previous qualities when we were children, and to re-learn those qualities through the children around us. These include our openness to the many wonders around us and to be receptive to the many gifts that are being offered to us. 

Take time then to ask questions, to be surprised even with ordinary things, to be delighted even with simple greetings of smiles around you. Take time to stop and say hello to a friend. You may also take time to witness a sunrise or sunset or even while sipping your coffee and eating your meal. Hopefully, by re-learning the qualities of a child we may also discover more and more how God unfolds His advent, the coming of His presence in us and His blessings for us. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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