Pope Francis offers the key to welcoming the Child Jesus.
True devotion to the Child Jesus is learned by welcoming the child - or as the Holy Father said, "'look to the lives of children' in order to learn to love and welcome Jesus."
The Holy Father has often spoken of his love for little children, loving them at Mass, even when they are noisy or distracted or restlessly crying out for attention. For myself, it was devotion to the Child Jesus which taught me to love little kids - especially at Mass - no matter how 'wild' they get. Every time I hear a little kid fall and burst into tears I feel it - I pray for him - I pray for kids who suffer or who are not welcomed. The writings of Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity taught me to honor them as little tabernacles of the Blessed Trinity. So I think I understand the Holy Father's recommendations on devotion to the Divine Child.
Devotion to the Child Jesus is widespread. Many saints cultivated this devotion in their daily prayers, and wished to model their lives after that of the Child Jesus. I think in particular of St Thérèse of Lisieux, who as a Carmelite nun took the name of Thérèse of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. She is also a Doctor of the Church who knew how to live and witness to the “spiritual childhood” which is assimilated through meditation, as the Virgin Mary taught, on the humility of God who became small for us. This is a great mystery. God is humble! We who are proud, filled with vanity, believe we are something big: we are nothing! He, the Great One, is humble and becomes a child. This is a true mystery. God is humble. This is beautiful!
As we see, we know little of the Child Jesus, but we can learn much about him if we look to the lives of children. It is a beautiful habit that parents and grandparents have, that of watching what the children do.
We discover, first of all, that children want our attention. They have to be at the centre — why? Because they are proud? No! Because they need to feel protected. It is important that we too place Jesus at the centre of our life and to know, even if it may seem paradoxical, that it is our responsibility to protect him. He wants to be in our embrace, he wants to be tended to and to be able to fix his gaze on ours. Additionally, make the Child Jesus smile in order to show him our love and our joy that he is in our midst. His smile is a sign of the love that gives us the assurance of being loved. Children, lastly, love to play. Playing with children, however, means abandoning our logic in order to enter theirs. If we want to have fun it is necessary to understand what they like, and not to be selfish and make them do the things that we like. It is a lesson for us. Before Jesus we are called to abandon our pretense of autonomy — and this is the crux of the matter: our pretense of autonomy — in order to instead accept the true form of liberty, which consists in knowing and serving whom we have before us. He, the Child, is the Son of God who comes to save us. He has come among us to show us the face of the Father abounding in love and mercy. Therefore, let us hold the Child Jesus tightly in our arms; let us place ourselves at his service. He is the font of love and serenity. It will be beautiful today, when we get home, to go to the nativity scene and kiss the Baby Jesus and say: “Jesus, I want to be humble like you, humble like God”, and to ask him for this grace. - NEWS.VA
Hopefully pastors and parishioners will understand the importance of children at Mass. On Sundays kids leave the church for a Children's Liturgy of the Word, and parents with rambunctious children are asked to take their kids to the 'Cry Room'. I don't like that at all. A crying baby or a giggling toddler is a beautiful sound, a wonderful homily - and a reminder to welcome and protect the child at every stage of life.