Long ago and far away, on a deeply dark night and after a weary day of travel, a young woman labored long to deliver her son into the world.
He rushed forth from her womb, leaving behind its warmth and safety to enter a world of both pain and love, joy and sorrow, birth and death – just like other newborn babes.
Someone scooped him up, wiped him clean, bundled him tightly, and lay him at his mother’s breast – just like other newborn babes.
Someone named him, held him, gazed at him lovingly, and brought him home to safety and warmth – just like other newborn babes.
Someone counted his fingers, counted his toes, stroked his delicate skin, fingered his silken hair, marveled at his quivering eyelashes, and traced his perfect face – just like other newborn babes.
Someone basked in the glow of new life, marveled at this bundle of humanity, and rejoiced in his miraculous breathing, wiggling, yawning, crying, sleeping, and eating – just like other newborn babes.
But this was not just another newborn babe.
This was Mary’s child. The carpenter’s boy. The son of God.
This was God himself, come to earth as a helpless babe, rushing forth from Mary’s womb – the Creator of everything, reduced to this wiggling, yawning, crying, sleeping, eating infant.
Jesus certainly was not just another newborn babe.
But because he willingly became a newborn babe, and then willingly went to the cross for all of humanity, we are offered life that only He can give – the kind of life where Jesus now washes us clean, names us, holds us, numbers the hairs on our head, and basks lovingly in the miracle of our new life – just like other born anew babes.
Breathe deeply and rejoice both in the miracle of newborn life and life born anew because there is nothing “just” about either one – for the first is undeservedly miraculous and the second is miraculously undeserved.