It is Christmas morning, and I am the only one awake. Rain is falling outside, and the candles on the little altar in my office are flickering softly in the darkness.
Christmas is a holy day for Christians, but it is particularly holy for me. The image of Christ crucified on a cross cannot move me in the same way as the image of a newborn, nursing peacefully at his mother’s breast, does. I nursed my own babies for years, and I remember how holy that act felt—the way little eyes gazed so trustingly into mine, little fingers gently patting the much-beloved breast. Those early morning moments, when the rest of the world was still sleeping, are fixed in my memories as times when God seemed very close.
And so, for me, the idea that God would come as a baby suddenly seems less outlandish. It is that image—Jesus as this vulnerable baby, born into the world to bring the good news that God loves us and wants to know us—that grips my heart.
My favorite Christmas hymn of all is “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”:
God rest ye merry, gentlemen
Let nothing you dismay
Remember, Christ, our Saviour
Was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan's power
When we were gone astray
O tidings of comfort and joy,
Comfort and joy
O tidings of comfort and joy
The story of Jesus challenges my reason and my intellect, but ultimately it brings comfort and joy. God in human form, sweet baby smell, soft baby head. Love abounding in the dark of night. Light bravely making its way into the world. Alleluia.