Since my brand-new niece Tiny just came on the scene very recently, this year I have an opportunity I have never had before: a real live baby to contemplate at Christmas.
I've never spent much time around tiny babies, mainly for lack of opportunity. Smiley Boy and Pigtail Girl are really the only ones I've been able to spend considerable time with, and each of them are years past that stage now. I'm years past where I was when each of them was born, to tell the truth. I'm not at all the same Aunt Crissy I was when Pigtail Girl was born, and sometimes it feels like the changes in me have not been much less considerable than the changes in her.
So now I have a new baby to marvel over, and she is here at Christmas. For the very first time, I have an object model for the point behind my holiday: a Christmas baby.
My Jesus, power and glory of the universe, couldn't hold his own head up. He yowled when he was hungry and made terrible messes in his pants, because that's a large percentage of what tiny babies do with their time. I daresay he threw up on his mom and dad, too, and they sighed in that way moms and dads do and cleaned everything up and then maybe he even did it again, because babies are like that.
My Jesus had astonishingly tiny fingernails, and if he was at all like my niece Tiny, feet that seemed all out of proportion in size to the rest of his body. He made the kind of grumpy-old-man faces that all babies make. He probably had a bit of trouble keeping both of his eyes pointed in the same direction when he was very new.
None of the rest of us human types remember living in this stage, but he just might. None of the rest of us got ourselves into it voluntarily, either, but he did. Turned himself into an impossibly tiny person who couldn't pick up his own head and made messes in his pants, and cried because he couldn't ask for things in any other way yet. He didn't do this for his own amusement. He did it because we needed him to.
My Christmas baby, my brand new niece Tiny, is teaching me about my other Christmas baby, the one who started Christmas and everything it stands for, grace and hope and peace and wonderment. The power and glory of the universe, packed up inside a very little child. Color me amazed. Color me grateful, too, grateful for Tiny and for Jesus and for seeing Christmas brand new too.