Many years ago, I was given a copy of “Through the year with William Barclay”, containing a thought for each morning and evening, first published as a book in 1971. It has been with me all those years sometimes as a reference, a teacher and even a comfort. William Barclay was regarded as a ‘modern miracle’ in his time – a New Testament scholar of fame and distinction. I have found many words of wisdom in his writing. A passage on children caught my eye.
He said – ‘What is it about a child that appeals’?
There is a child’s trust – he is not suspicious and instinctively trusts other people.
There is his enjoyment – even simple things are wonderful.
There is his innocence – we see in a child that which we have lost and that which we yearn to be.
And it is in Christ that we, grown up children can, by his grace and power regain the lost goodness and loveliness of life.
Earlier this year, I had the privilege of spending a week on holiday living with a new-born babe – something I had not done since our own children were born. A dear little boy called Maika, in this world only days, second son of grand-daughter Sally, and the newest of our four great-grandchildren. I was near him night and day, listening for his breathing, watching him feed, hearing his cries, admiring his flawless skin and – yes – his auburn hair – revelling in being allowed to hold him and protect him from his boisterous 2-year old brother. Suddenly finding him wrapped up, asleep in the laundry basket piled high with fresh laundry – while life went on busily around him. This precious new life, right there in our midst – perfect with all his fingers and toes – a miracle. A new wave of wonder and gratitude swept over me.
Nothing surpassed the birth of our first child, and the second and the third. Every child and every grandchild is a blessing. And here I was, at this ripe old age, moved yet again to tears of joy by the miracle of birth, a perfect little being starting his life in the world. A precious responsibility upon us all to guide him through life.