A singular child – 30 August 2021








A small boy looks out at you with a steady gaze. What is he feeling? What is he thinking? How are you prompted to respond?

Notice how the background is divided into two dark sections, the wall behind and the grey cushions on which he rests his head on top of his hands. His hair is well cut, and his cheeks red and plump. This is not a poor boy. The red of his jumper causes him to stand out, catching the viewer’s attention. What is striking is that he is depicted alone.

This is a portrait of Christopher ‘Kit’ Nicholson by his mother Mabel Pryde Nicholson, The Red Jersey (1912). Mabel captures his individuality, his singular spirit. She reveals to us not just his existence, but both his needs and determination. This child is known. Every child could be painted in this way, revealing what is particular and special.


At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, ‘Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?’ And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 18:1-3


The Child’s faith is new –
Whole – like His Principle –
Wide – like the Sunrise
On fresh Eyes –
Never had a Doubt –
Laughs – at a Scruple –
Believes all sham
But Paradise –

Emily Dickinson


God, we pray you would protect our children as they go throughout their days. Hem them in behind and before and lay Your hand upon them (Psalm 139:5). Do not let any harm come to them. Keep each of our children safe beneath Your wings and guard them against any plots that are meant to harm or bring ruin to them. Be close to each of our children, surround them with Your favour as with a shield (Psalm 5:11-12).