Some time ago, a journalist was working on a project about Mr. Rogers. Apparently, to really dig into the material and refresh her experience of Mr. Rogers, she decided to get a hold of all his programs and spend a few days watching the shows one after another.
She had an idea with her husband about sharing it with their young kids. However, their experience trying to introduce their kids to the movies or shows of their own youth had previously only run into dead ends. The kids had nothing but criticism, and turned away. So, she decided to watch the shows privately in her own room.
A little while into the shows, and two of her kids came in looking for homework help. As she helped them, they began to watch Mr. Rogers. She waited for the criticism – but it never came. The kids were captivated. They wanted to watch another show, and then another. The following days, they watched all the remaining shows with her.
They weren’t as much interested in the puppets or the trains, or the things of the show in and of themselves, as much as Mr. Rogers himself. They had a lot of questions about him, like did he ever use the bathroom, or why does he always come home when the show starts. The kids particularly liked when he went over to feed the fish. His kindness and gentleness had captivated them.
She was completely baffled, surprised, and amazed. She really wanted to know what in he world about it all had won the kids over. Here is her description in her own words:
“I asked my youngest two, as they obsessed over the fish, what was it about the show that appealed to them. After a beat, they gave me that look that parents will readily recognize, the one that best translates to ‘Isn’t it obvious?’ ‘He likes kids, Mommy,’ my daughter said. ‘Kids know when a grown-up likes them.’ ”
That is the secret to Mr. Roger’s attraction: he loved kids. And they know it.
At Christmas, there is a story of two kings. King Herod is going to drive children away, and even worse, have them killed. Jesus, is going to attract children to himself, and give them life. The secret of the attraction is simple: Jesus loves kids. And they know it.
People know when we have love in our heart for them. It’s attractive to them. And if we’re missing love in our heart, the great gift of Christmas is the King who attracts us, who loves us, who can give us his own love to pass to others. And make us attractive.
When Jesus comes, it’ll be an attractive experience because he loves us.
And you’ll know it.
“Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” (Mt 19:14)