Mr. Rogers visited the afterschool at St. Ann's Episcopal Church in the South Bronx. The kids all knew him from television. He lamented the inclination in commercial television "to replace some opportunities for silence" in a child's life "with universal noise" (page 119). He noted that young children give us "glimpses of some things that are eternal... and what unites us all as human beings." Mr. Rogers looked at children and really saw them at their core.
One of the challenges of living the Christian faith is to see the face of Christ in everyone. It is perhaps easiest to start with children. Mr. Rogers, a Presbyterian minister, did that. So much on kids' faces reflects the eternal -- joy, pain, eagerness, hope, despair. It is often vibrant, sometimes raw -- and most always very real. One of the disservices we do to children -- and to ourselves and to God, is to look upon children and claim them as being cute. Cute they may be, but cuteness minimizes this deeper dimension and this eternal quality.
As we prepare to welcome a holy child in our midst, who is the living Christ; and as we are challenged to see the face of Christ in everyone, perhaps we can look upon others as icons -- as windows into God's eternal and uniting presence.