On Christmas Day six years ago, a chunky baby boy with golden hair was born. Coffee cups were left behind on tables, wrapping paper and gift boxes were strewn around the family room, and the unlit Christmas tree looked slightly malnourished. Our entire family - fathers, mothers, children, aunts, uncles, and cousins - were gathered at the hospital to welcome the Christmas baby into our world. With gusto and appetite, Hunter Charles left his only known home of amorphous tranquility to join a new sphere of lights, noises, surfaces, and the touching, turning, and cradling of hands holding him in the air he gulped. The baby’s wail brought forth a fresh onslaught of cacophony from the blurred shadows hovering around him. This bewildered man-child seemed to know he was at the mercy of a new world, and he wanted to go back home.
Hunter is now a robust, sensitive, and introspective child. His mop of red hair is as bright as his blue eyes are deep. He stops at no obstacle bigger, harder, or faster than himself, yet he tip toes over sand, cringes at the feel of grass, and panics at the sight of a face cloth. While Hunter’s older brother is quick with words, confident and athletic, Hunter speaks from observation, prefers fun to competition, collects rocks, and nurtures his hamster Rosie. Being with Hunter feels a little like opening a Christmas present.
When I think about the birth of Jesus, I can’t help wonder what it must have been like for Him to leave the ethereal glory of heaven where His company was the encompassing love of His Father and legions of illuminated angels extoling praises as far as He could hear. What did the crash through the eternal hemisphere feel like as the needles of straw met Him on the manger? Unlike Hunter, Jesus did not come from the world. God gave Him to the world. Yet, this baby was born in a manger among animals, shepherds, strangers, and kings. He, too, gave his first lusty cry, learned to suckle, and felt the chill of night. From the moment of His birth, the Son of God was immersed in the world as the Son of Man.
Christmas Day brings double celebration in our household. The birthday cake for Jesus, decorated with candies and candles, is now shared with Hunter. “Happy Birthday Jesus and Hunter!” sung loud and clear reflects in a boisterous way the joy and gratitude of our family. As we’ve watched Hunter grow from infant to boyhood, we are reminded that Jesus, too, crawled on floors, splashed in puddles, and prayed at bedtime.
God came to earth as an infant, holy and pure, and as we celebrate His birth we are reminded that He truly was with us, lived among us, and is now within us.