20 Then he looked up at his disciples and said:
“Blessed are you who are poor,
for yours is the kingdom of God.
21 “Blessed are you who are hungry now,
for you will be filled.
“Blessed are you who weep now,
for you will laugh.
Today Nouwen reminds us that to become a child of God, we need to live the Beatitudes. We need to become childlike again to enter into the Kingdom of the Father.
I’m not sure how this quite works. Unless we believe that all children are poor, hungry, weep… How can this be being childlike?
The prayer in the book did Help me to unpack this a little. Lord, give us beatitude instead of superficial happiness. The theme of Advent was of waiting – not surrounding ourselves with the glitz of the party season, the materialism of a retail bonanza. Now that Christmas is here – with the one gift we really need – God coming down to earth in human form and lying in a manger – should suffice. Yet it is all too easy for us to forget that gift and move on. Today, indeed, the set readings for Church have moved on to the visit of Jesus to the temple as a child – are we stil not marvelling over that simplest of gifts – a newborn baby – life itself?
Lord, may we be blessed. May we never forget the gift you gave us of Jesus, lying in a manager. May we never forget to count this as the greatest amongst our many blessings; nor forget that it is a blessing for those who have little else. May we value not matters, not the ephemeral. May we be less selfish. May we give of what we have of both material vale and of our time and our humanity. Amen.