The first time I saw the Infant of Prague was a statue my aunt showed me–a family heirloom–and it struck me as strange, to say the least. A Christ child doll with fancy dresses? Huh? It was one of those experiences, though, that never really goes away . . . and He has popped up again, continually–in random churches that escaped renovation, on travels, through various friends, through St Therese of the Child Jesus, through a devotion that our pastor is promoting. As I lay awake one night with my baby girl, I thought about Him, about the Christ Child.
About the love of a baby: that unconditional love. How a baby loves, and especially loves his or her mama, just because you are you. I cannot emphasize this enough.
It’s something I’ve always struggled with, and something that has often been attacked: my worth, just as me. Not because I did something great, or right, or because I was able to win a game, or because I excelled in sports or music or writing; or because I was “useful” and could clean the house or make dinner or watch the kids or get straight As or even be such a great friend . . . but just because I am me.
Children love you for who you are. They want your presence, your words, your imagination, your voice telling stories, your arms around them. They don’t care, especially as infants, if someone else’s mom is prettier or dresses better or does better crafts or sews them clothes or buys them every toy. They just want you. They don’t care if you’re happy or sad or angry or tired. They love you and want you and need you just because you are you.
Such a perfect and fitting image for the love of Christ! We live in this hyper-sexualized, anti-life, anti-child culture that has completely lost, as a whole, the sense of joy in a child’s love, and it is one of the most precious gifts we human beings have been given. Jesus was a child, a real human child . . . and He loves me, loves you, with that pure, unquestioning, undemanding child’s love. He loves you because you are you. The demand that a child makes on us is to come out of ourselves, to be bigger than the insatiable selfishness that the world preaches, and love someone else more. Put someone else first. Someone who needs your love, who depends on you. You.
Christ has made Himself dependent on us. He depends on our hearts, hands, feet, voices, to be His presence in the world, to bring Him to others. He depends on us to grow closer–to make the choice to spend time with Him, to receive the Sacraments, to wait in the stillness of our hearts for Him. And He does ask us, in a straight-forward, utterly trusting way, to do what He asks: Whoever does it to the least of these, does it to Me. He asks with the love and knowledge born of being your Creator and Redeemer: to step out and trust Him with the faith of a child.
Jaime Gorman is a mother to four small munchkins. She dabbles at homesteading, horses, homeschooling, and writing in her Virginia home.