Of all the joyful celebrations, there are few that rival the birth of a new child.
Yesterday (as I write this), a friend of mine needed to organize her things and so briefly handed me her daughter Molly, born four months ago. Holding her awakened that deep human need to love.
I find that holding an infant is always something of a spiritual experience for me. Molly harbors no hate and no suspicion. She brings no ulterior motive. She practices no unkindness, attempts no manipulation, brings no emotional risk other than having my heart stolen. I am free to set aside any vigilance against attacks or traps, and simply connect. Little Molly is at the age where she can make meaningful eye contact, and can smile. Freed from any need to watch my back, I can experience genuine amazement at a remarkable little person. Holding an infant reminds me how much other human connections may be tainted in comparison -- and wondering how much of the cause is within myself. But the longer I hold a child, the more this self-cynicism passes -- not because it's wrong but because there are better things to do. No matter what's in me, the infant offers a fresh start. I find myself free to be more relaxed, more authentic, more joyful in return. There's a connection to be made, and nothing to poison it.
In reaching out to us, God chose weakness. Some scoff at the idea of God in a human baby: foolish! But the weakness of God is stronger than our strength, and the foolishness of God is wiser than our wisdom. That purity that I experience when holding an infant is something that many of us also experience when we are around nature, or any time that we find ourselves in the presence of the holy. Considering God as an infant reminds me how much my other connections with Him may be tainted in comparison, wondering how much of the cause is with me, and finally letting the self-cynicism pass. There's a connection to be made, and nothing to poison it. There's a fresh start: For unto us a child is born.