Little children love Easter. It may seem their enjoyment involves only the fun of Easter egg hunts, jelly beans, and baskets of chocolate bunnies. But these are only symbols of the true attraction they can feel.
They may not yet understand the significance of the holy time of Easter, but they may feel it. Little children are all about love and joy, and in their innocence they are quick to respond to the mental atmosphere of those around them who rise in the spiritual celebration of Easter.
Tobin Hart, PhD, author of “The Secret Spiritual World of Children,” would probably agree. He speaks of the growing evidence that children are naturally attuned to the spiritual. He writes, “Nearly all children experience ways of knowing and being – outside of any training or rituals. They include awe and wonder, intense feelings of love and compassion, startling moments of wisdom and a deep curiosity about the profound nature of life. They are naturally attuned to the spiritual.”
Though Mr. Hart’s book was written in our time, students of Christ Jesus know that Hart’s findings are not new. In fact, his findings support what Jesus must have known when he told his followers to let little children come to him. He referred to them as being worthy of the kingdom of heaven (see Matthew 18:1-4). Does that mean Jesus thought that maturity is not prepared for such harmony?
Jesus’ teachings do not identify holiness with an age or a time, and indicate that letting the physical and material define life hides spiritual truth. He gave clear direction to those who were focused primarily on the material. His admonition was that they seek the kingdom of heaven first, the spiritual idea, and then all those human needs would be met (see Matthew 6:33).
To me, part of the Easter celebration is about our Master’s mission to meet the human need for spirituality – in a world where the lure of materialism is strong. His message of love to all of us then and now is that we be born again – that we reconceive ourselves in order to recognize ourselves as the children of God we innately are. He made this unequivocal statement: “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
How do we become as little children? We can begin by listening for the “still small voice” that the prophet Elijah heard at a time when he felt his life and mission were in danger (see I Kings 19:9-12). I understand this message of stillness to be the Christ, always calling and coming to us right where we are. The message is one of love and joy and innocence – the delight of heavenly harmony. Are we hearing it? Or are we deafened by human dust-ups of disagreement? Rituals of right versus wrong? Workloads of worry and worldliness?
I find inspiration in what Mary Baker Eddy, who discovered Christian Science, wrote about why Jesus loved little children: “because of their freedom from wrong and their receptiveness of right.” And she further comments: “While age is halting between two opinions or battling with false beliefs, youth makes easy and rapid strides towards Truth” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” p. 236).
This Easter season, celebrating Jesus’ overcoming of the world can inspire fresh new beginnings. I feel that in order to be his true follower, I must be willing to recapture that childlike innocence and receptivity – that purity and playfulness, which has always been present. Seeing this is as simple as seeing the difference between a clean and a dirty windowpane. To remove what doesn’t belong on that glass is to restore it to its original state and allow the light to shine through without obstruction.
It doesn’t have to be Easter for us to celebrate being the children of God in every sense of the idea, but the joy of the Easter season is powerful inspiration for renewal and regeneration. May the light of Easter morning fill you with awe and wonder. May you be carefree and full of expectation. May you embrace those around you with deep feelings of love and compassion. May you know you are forever new.
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