That is the only word I know to describe the impact our two-week old granddaughter, Isabella, had last night at the restaurant where we were enjoying time with our son’s family.
Our oldest granddaughter, Angelina, and I have birthdays one day apart–she turned 11, I turned 55. So we were sharing some food and fun in a joint birthday celebration.The focus was supposed to be on the two whose births were being celebrated.
People couldn’t walk by without staring, smiling, oooing and ahhhing over this gorgeous little ball of love swaddled in red and black. Try as they might, the family couldn’t keep the spotlight on the birthday celebrants because it kept shifting to the baby.
When we walked out of the restaurant with Pawpaw (that’s me) getting the honor of being Isabella’s transport, the lobby full of hungry guests who were total strangers gathered around as if we were closest relatives. An old couple out for dinner, a young couple on a date, the servers and maître d’ couldn’t resist the magnet.
People simply went out of their ways to get a glimpse of the newborn. I wondered why.
Is it just because she is so irresistibly cute? Is it the adorable outfits, the big sleepy brown eyes, the incessant cooing, the squeaky cries? Maybe.
But perhaps it is more.
- A baby brings hope that there is a still a future in the midst of a world of uncertainty.
- A baby stirs the sense that life has more meaning than the frenetic lifestyle in which we are trapped.
- A baby ignites a fire in a cold sadness of a culture decaying before our very eyes.
- A baby reminds us of days gone by when we still felt potential and prospect lay before us.
- A baby fills us with wonder about Who might be behind this amazing process of bringing life out of love.
And it was in the middle of this chaotic joy that I began to wonder more eternally.
Are those some of the reasons God chose to enter our fragile and frightening world as a Baby?
“But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman…” (Galatians 4:4)
It seems the loving Father took a long look at the fearful, hopeless, helpless state of humanity striving and stressing to squeeze some meaning out of the dailyness of life as it is and came to us in the inviting and absorbing vulnerability of a Baby.
“For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
- The Great God lay diapered and dependent at Mary’s breast to demonstrate a love that would hold us close in our deepest fears and weakness.
- The Great God came crying and squirming as a tiny child emerging from a tranquil womb to show us we don’t need to escape this broken world to be happy and whole.
- The Great God came just as we did born life from life to have life and give life–showing that this whole journey of life-to-death was His idea and could be done His way.
- The Great God wrapped his tiny hand around the trembling finger of His terrified new Mom to show that He had the whole world in His hand.
- The Great God came in the helpless form of a baby utterly reliant on his Mother’s care to demonstrate to us that weakness is strength, meekness is power and that He would turn this world right-side-up.
When God dressed up as a baby, split a womb and split time into BC and AD, in the sweet, squeaky cries of that mangered infant He trumpeted to the world that He had come to change everything.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14)
He was the mystery from Heaven who filled the time between conception and consummation; between diapers and destiny, between birth and death with eternal life and earthy significance.
- The sweet whimperings of this baby were the whisperings of God that said “I love you”.
- The urgent cries from these tiny lungs were the tears of God that voiced, “I understand you”.
- The nursing lips of this newborn were the sign from God that declared “I am with you”.
- The swaddled sleep of this little child was the heart of God that affirmed “I won’t leave you”.
“Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel,’ which translated means, ‘God with us.’” (Matthew 1:22-23)
And so, angels and sages, sheep and cows, Mary and Joseph welcomed God into our world as an irresistible Baby who was the indomitable power to redeem and restore this planet.