Eric Berne has gained fame by writing simple and profound books on psychiatry. Berne says that there is within each of us the adult, the parent and the child. Unless we are able to face all three and deal with them all, we get sick. He goes on to say that it is the child who contains the creative life and power and yet is most often forgotten. Until we can reach the playful, creative, and imaginative child within us, we are dull and not whole.
Isaiah, the Advent prophet, today proclaims (Isaiah 11:1-10) that only as the little child within us is allowed to live, only then can the warring tendencies within us come to a time and a place of harmony:
“Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; the calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them. The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox. The baby shall play by the cobra’s den, and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.” (Isaiah 11:6-9).
Isaiah knew the real world and also the spiritual world, a world which contains such forces as lions and bears. Isaiah knew that each of us contains within us the destructive and aggressive side of spiritual reality. When our dark side is let loose, it produces a Genghis Khan or a Hitler on a global level or a bully or a witch at work, home or school. Isaiah says there is also within us the lamb, the calf, the child that can bring the warring parts of our world and ourselves together.
Every year at Christmas we celebrate the coming of a divine Child in our world and inside each of us. The Christ-Child will never be born in us unless we have the courage to face the ordinary childlike side of ourselves and let it live. Many of us were hurt as children and so we are afraid to show the child that is within us. I raised my hand to give an answer in 2nd grade. I thought I had the right answer, but the whole class laughed at me. For the next 19 years, I never raised my hand again in class.
Unless you allow the real child within you to live and find that he or she is acceptable, you will never have a place for the divine Child to be born within you. Jesus has told us, “Trust me when I tell you that whoever does not accept the kingdom of God as a child will not enter into it” (Luke 18:17).
When you become childlike – you become whole, creative, and at peace within you.