I look down at the newest baby in church and wonder, what is it about newborns that makes people a little crazy? Is it the sweet smell of their skin, the soft cheeks, or the strange little noises? How can it be that every time I see tiny little fingers and toes, I turn immediately into a gushy, lovey baby person? Even grown men make faces at the little ones, use high voices, and say things the would not otherwise say, like "sweet pea," and "love muffin." The affection people pile on these new babies is unbelievable.
And what do the babies do with all this attention? When they hear "Oooohhh, what a precious little nose!" do they grimace and say, "Actually I think it is a little too big." When they hear "Oh wow, he rolled over! He’s going to be a genius!" do they explain that they are doing no more than every other baby before them has done, that they are really not nearly as special as their loved ones think they are? Even a crazy statement like, "That was such a good burp honey!" is enough to draw a smile of pride on a baby’s face. They eat up this attention. They delight in being loved, not for anything they have done, but for simply existing. It is wonderful to have passive little babies around that we love just for being there. They eat, they sleep, they lay around all day; spitting, messing, adorable little blobs. They observe, they learn, and they soak up our love.
It is amazing how the Lord pours out His love on our littlest ones. He asks nothing from them. He does not call them to the baptismal font because He knows in the future they will be great saints for His kingdom. He does not require bold statements of commitment on their part. He does not require that they prove themselves first. They are completely passive. They cannot even bring themselves to the font. Yet the Lord has made a way. He has placed in the hearts of parents a tiny taste of that gracious love. Parents so love their children that they eagerly bring them to Him. And He welcomes them with open arms.
Yet when we adults get a taste of that kind of love for ourselves, what do we do? If we come to church and are told, "It’s good to see you," we often hear, "I hope you sign up to volunteer," or "I hope you remember to tithe this week!" We go into church and are told "Your sins are forgiven!" Does a smile ever cross your lips at that moment, as you are loved simply for being there? We are told by our Lord, "Take, eat, this is my body!" When we come to the table, do we take a moment to bask in His love like newborns?
Adult believers would do well to remember this love of our Lord. Even we who were baptized as adorable blobs sometimes forget the unbelievable, undeserved affection by which we were made part of God’s family. The next time you see one of our newest little lambs, rejoice in the radical love of Jesus. Rejoice that He welcomes the littlest ones with open arms. And never forget that this is the same grace that welcomes you.
"It is by grace you have been saved..." Ephesians 2:5