In Bethlehem a Child was born and changed the world. The birth of a child often does; any new parent will tell you so. This particular birth though, has impacted history – severing it into two portions: that which came before, and everything that followed His arrival. He is the central point from which we measure our years and centuries.
He not only divided time, He broke through the fabric of matter by uniting Divinity and humanity. He ruptured the boundaries of life and death. He confounded logic by teaching truth in paradoxes: the last shall be first; to gain life you must lose it; blessed are the poor.
“Let the little children come to me ... for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.” (Matt. 19:14)
Is it possible that we can be such a child as He was? In Christ, we are born to new life and through Him we may approach the Father as His children. Even in that simple, childish state, God can work through us. If we trust Him, and abandon ourselves to Him like a child, He will use our hands to feed the hungry, clothe the poor, bind up the lame; our words to console the broken hearted. The innocence and vulnerability of a child can bring the strength and power of God into the world.
At this time of year it may be easier to feel capable of reaching out, being generous; easier, too, to have loving and cheerful attitudes. If only we could preserve the benevolence and forbearance that abounds during these days of glad tidings for when we’re feeling stretched beyond our limit during the ordinary, tedious days of February or July. We could dip into our store of comfort and joy to find the wherewithal to be patient with the children, forgiving of our spouse, tolerant toward our colleagues, helpful to our neighbours. We could have peace on earth and goodwill to all men. I didn’t find any of that advertised in the holiday fliers. Where I do see it is in depictions of the Nativity. In Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and angels giving praise to God for the fulfillment of a prophecy:
For a child will be born to us... and his name will be Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)