Baby Jesus is having a hard time. Someday he will be back in heaven, seated at the right hand of his Father, but right now the Savior of the World is dealing with the particularly vulnerable issue of being stuck on his chest. After some struggling, he manages to lift himself, a victorious moment that lasts only briefly, as his forward momentum causes him to do a face-plant in the soft dirt. This is a move thousands of babies his age had done before him, and he, our one and only Savior, is not spared the indignity of falling. Or the pain of it.
Pushing himself up, his face contorted with emotion, he begins to cry. Being the Son of God does not protect him from things like this. It seems unjust, really, a catastrophe of poor planning to have a Savior in this form.
Mary instantly leans over and sweeps him up to her chest. She cradles him there, and, for a moment, the heartbeat of God’s Son syncs with hers as he begins to calm down.
Once his tears have stopped, replaced by quiet breaths, Mary holds him out from her and looks into his wide, dark eyes. His facial expression morphs into a smile in response to hers. She gently places him down in front of her, balancing him so that he is, for a moment, standing. The legs that will one day carry a rugged cross up to Golgotha are right now weak and trembling, in need of her support.
Mary sets Jesus down in the pool of sunlight and offers him a toy. His hands, hands that will one day give the blind their sight, are chubby and uncoordinated as they grasp for the simple, wooden toy that Joseph made. Jesus gurgles and sticks it in his mouth. His voice, the one that will one day call Lazarus back to life, has yet to complete the simplest of words.
Mary watches him with a calm delight. She doesn’t know that the very sun that streams down on Jesus right now will one day go dark as he breathes his last, and that his currently unbalanced feet will one day enter hell and return with the keys to death.
Heaven’s greatest rescue mission has been launched with the most ordinary of beginnings. This is his grand entrance. Fully one of us. Yet completely divine. He has entered our world in the most unconventional way a king could have chosen to come. Into our brokenness. Into our pain. With a simple mission – to mend and restore what was lost -- at the cost of his own life.
For this babe, in all of his gibbering glory and fragile vulnerability, is one day going to save us all.