At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a child, whom he put among them,and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.
Celebrate a child.
Sometimes the small details in a story reveal much. We are told that Jesus answers a question posed by the disciples by calling a child, and then putting that child amongst them. Take note that the child had to be called. She had to be called because she was outside the circle of adults with whom Jesus was engaged. She was outside the circle of recognition and respect, just as a woman would have been, just as a tax collectors would have been, just as the sick would have been.
So many of our preparations this season are devoted to making it a special time for children. Today, the invitation to celebrate a child is an invitation to look beyond the circles of love and respectability we create for ourselves, many of which already include children. Whom might we call, beyond our circles, beyond our communities, and beyond our walls?
We are hearing so much about what it means to be great these days. As is so often the case, Jesus turns our gaze elsewhere, and invites us to see and celebrate true greatness in those whom the world has dismissed.