I have never had much use for the child Jesus. I mean—I just never “got it.” Images of the baby Jesus spoke to me more about Jesus as God entering into humanity, i.e., the incarnation. But for me personally, a child or infant Christ doesn’t make any sense.
I mostly pray to God as my Father who loves me unconditionally. When I pray through scripture Jesus takes on greater meaning. He can be the Jesus at the well, the Jesus lifting the women caught in adultery, the Jesus on the cross, or my favorite, the Jesus who appears to Mary Magdalene in the garden.
It is the adult Christ that taught, that died for me, that rose. This adult Jesus can help me, but what can Jesus as a child do for me?
Being of a Czech background, I am familiar with the statue of the Infant of Prague. The Infant of Prague devotion always seemed a little odd to me. It is a wooden statue of Jesus as an infant dressed in gold wearing a crown. I have always thought it looked more like a dress up doll than anything holy, but that was before I took the image of the child Jesus to prayer.
As I prayed, I thought of the other places the child Jesus shows up in our Catholic faith. There is St. Therese of the Child Jesus, St. Anthony of Padua, and I think there is a Mexican devotion to the child Jesus too?
Lately, an image of a child clinging to me, like my kids did when they were little, comes to mind when I pray. The comfort of little arms around my neck hugging with unselfish and abandoned love brings peace to my heart.
This little child is Christ. And He loves me.
Kids love their moms. They just do. Even when they make mistakes, kids still crawl up onto your lap and hug you. Even when you don’t deserve it, children shower you with love.
Maybe it is this Christ that I need right now. This child who loves me, but HE is not just any child. Like the Infant of Prague, he is a King and a child.
Part of the devotion to the Infant of Prague is the words given to the priest, Fr. Cyril, when he found the statue in a pile of rubble after the city was ransacked by invaders in 1635. The Christ Child spoke to him and said, “The more you honor Me the more I will bless you.” This is the promise of the Infant King.
The Infant of Prague and other devotions to the child Jesus allow us to be small; like the infant Jesus. The adorable Christ Child, not only increases our desire for holiness, but also shows that we can get there little by little by taking baby steps. His smallness conquers our temptation to be discouraged.
Today is the Feast of Christ the King. Our idea of a King is someone unapproachable or someone we would bow to and be afraid of. Today try thinking of Christ as the Child King, sitting on your lap, arms around your neck, lavishing His love on you.