When we got our baby on a Tuesday evening almost a week ago, he arrived as a tiny little thing in a carriage. One of the first things we noticed was how he responded to being held. I said to my wife that it seemed he hadn’t been held much, or at least not as much as he needed to be. That was not surprising since the first 18 days of his life was spent in the hospital in an intensive care sort of room. We could tell from his body language that every time we held him he soaked it in, not in the sense of delight (though I think that was a part of it) but in the sense of feeling at ease, safe, secure and loved.
It struck me how much an infant who is just introduced into the world understands the most basic human need and knows when that need is not met. I think this baby wanted to know the answers to two of the most fundamental questions of being human: “Am I accepted?” and “Am I alone?” Am I accepted in this life? Am I alone in this world? These core questions are questions of the soul. They need an answer; in the absence of a positive answer everything else we do, pursue or become feels shaken, uncertain and even trivial. No matter how much money, pleasures, things, achievements or social networks we have, unless we know we are accepted and not alone in this universe, our souls feel empty and our lives feel incomplete. It’s no wonder that throughout the Bible, God demonstrates in profound, bold and affectionate ways his undying love for his people. This Christmas that celebrates the birth of Jesus, the Son of God who died for us so that we may have the opportunity by faith to be reunited with God, is a loud cry from the halls of heaven and the quietness of a manger that in Christ we are accepted and we are not alone.
As my wife and I continuously hold our baby, embrace him tightly, shower him with kisses and stroke his little back, we let him know that he is accepted—he’s in our home, our lives, our prayers and our hearts – and that he is not alone—we are here for him and we’re not leaving him for as long as God would keep him in our family.