Cootchie-Coo! Tch-tch-tch. Heello-o-o-o there little one! These nonsense syllables slip over my lips even while I attempt to suppress them. It’s a baby and I love to look at babies! A new person. A bundle of possibilities. It happens time and time again and I’m not the only one.
I have seen huge, sophisticated men wither into babbling blather when face to face with a little-humanoid! It’s just so captivating. What do they see? How much do they understand? Where have they been? What will they become? It is almost impossible to be in the presence of a brand new creature and not turn to one’s primitive state.
And God said, “How am I gonna’ get these humans-from-the-humus to understand how I feel about them? I’ve got to reveal the true Nature of Our Divine Love in a way that they will understand, and that they will not forget.”
And Spirit said, “I can visit as a wise woman.” And God said, “No, that just didn’t work. It didn’t carry enough weight. It didn’t open their hearts with tenderness. It didn’t explode their barriers and turn their fears to helpless gasping from pure joy.”
And Jesus said, “I’ll go ... on one condition: That I start out as a baby. That I do the whole thing — childhood, bar-mitzvah, adolescence, family dynamics, reluctant followers, suspicious power-monger. Right down to the worst humans have to offer. I think that’s the only way they’re ever going to ‘get’ the place we hold in our heart for them, how fiercely they are loved.”
And so it was that a maiden was chosen and a patient carpenter drafted. So it was that the most fragile, vulnerable, adorable, powerful, mysterious gift was given. And so it is that when we see any child; small, curious, hungry, waiting, hoping, watching . . . two things happen: First, we peer into the eyes of God, for whatever we do unto the least of these we will be doing unto God in Christ Jesus. Second, the place in our hearts that is touched by the sight of this large-eyed, whimpering, wondering collection of human features in an impossibly miniature frame is the very place in our hearts where God resides. And at that moment we know, if we are paying attention, how God feels about us!
And again, if we are paying attention, we join together and proclaim, “Gloria in the highest heaven, and may we all come to adore the one, true and living God. Right here. In our hearts. Where God dwells!”
Gretchen M.B. Pickeral, a priest in the Episcopal Church, is currently the mentor for the St. Paul’s Episcopal ministry team. She works with other ministry teams in Central Minnesota as well as Group Facilitation with the Institute for the Healing of Memories in North America.