From my experience, and perhaps from yours too, there is nothing quite like holding a baby who has just entered into our world.
I had the joy of holding a newborn just a few weeks ago. Teresa Ann Klaes (who will be making her debut as the baby Jesus on Christmas Eve at our 4pm service, under the direction of momma Maggie) was 2 days old when we met. Weighing in over 10 lbs (no need to buy NB outfits for this cherub, 3M clothes will do just fine, thank you!), baby “Tessa” was sound asleep.
And she was warm, oh so warm, wrapped up in love with a head full of dark, dark hair. As often happens when I’m holding a newborn, a flood of wonder and awe washed over me with Tessa in my arms …
“Hello, dear One, welcome to our beautiful and broken and amazing world … Welcome to your one precious life … Welcome to your human family … God’s family … Who are you? … Who are you going to be? … So thankful you have loving parents and a loving family and everything you could possibly need … oh, how I wish this were so for every child … for every child … Amazing … This is so amazing … You are amazing! …Life is amazing … How can this be?!? …”
A bit schmaltzy? Perhaps. And yet, I believe, William Wordsworth has it right:
“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!”
And so it is that we find ourselves once again on the brink of holding and hearing the good news of another, Holy birth, a long, long time ago, in a land far, far away. Meister Eckhart, German mystic from the 13th century, reflecting on Jesus’ birth, asked: “What good is it, that Christ was born in a stable in Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago if Christ is not also born in me?” https://www.ssje.org/2012/12/20/mothers-of-god-br-david-vryhof/
St. John of the Cross, Spanish mystic from the 16th century, wrote a poem that paints the Christmas story in both a timeless and timely way. I share it now with you. May God be born in You this season and every day, to be a light unto our world.
If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road
pregnant with the holy, and say,
“I need shelter for the night,
please take me inside your heart, my time is so close.”
Then, under the roof of your soul,
you will witness the sublime intimacy,
the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever,
as she grasps your hand for help,
for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Yes there, under the dome of your being
does creation come into existence eternally,
through your womb, dear pilgrim – the sacred womb of your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help:
for each of us is his beloved servant, never far.
If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the street
pregnant with Light and sing.