Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.
For much of my life, I have been comforted by this promise Jesus made to his disciples--whenever I could catch my breath in among all the things that had to be done to raise six children! And now that they are all adults, I see my daughters caught up in the fray, often overwhelmed by the chaos of babies and toddlers and children in school needing something the next day that requires another round of bundling up small bodies into snowsuits (for three of my daughters) or jackets, stuffing them into car seats, taking them all back out, hoping the store they're going to has a basket with a car theme in whatever is their favorite now--fairies? princesses? police cars? fire trucks?--and that the store has the item they are searching for at a low price in whatever multiple they need. Then they reverse the process and hope they make it home before someone needs a bathroom stop or before the next blizzard rides into town.
It can all seem like an endless round of drudgery if we don't occasionally pause and look at the little ones whom we are called to serve, and rejoice in their sweet faces (often dirty), their unique personalities, and remember the One whom we are serving when we take care of them. I had this opportunity the last time my oldest daughter was in town. Her youngest little girl, Ahm-chul, who isn't quite two, had always been very shy when she was here, clinging to her mother and only occasionally acknowledging my presence. But this time, she climbed up in my lap, and I cherished the peacefulness of my time sitting holding her and rejoicing that she now feels comfortable enough with me to snuggle down and fall asleep for quite a long nap. And I think her mother enjoyed the time without Ahm-chul singing out her litany of "Mommy, mommy, mommy!"