When babies won’t or can’t sleep, it affects their behavior and everyone else’s. When they do sleep, they look like angels.
My three young grandbabies are doing much better with the demands of their five-hour time change and are creeping toward a manageable schedule. And that means their parents are doing better, too.
During this Christmas season, I’m in awe that God chose to send the Savior of all humanity as a “regular” baby, conceived miraculously but born in the usual way. He was as helpless as any newborn and needed the same round-the-clock care. Did he sleep through the night right away? Did he cry when he hadn’t had enough sleep? Did he have fussy times during his day?
I’d like to think he was the perfect child, but my guess is he was much like my grandbabies, once in a while out of sorts, sometimes sleepless. Even though Jesus was divine, he was also fully human, truly like us, and his behavior probably followed suit.
What a wonder that God used helpless baby-flesh to clothe (and house) his Son. He had a human mom, a human dad, and at least six human siblings. He led a normal life for 30 years, being raised in an ordinary home with a carpenter as head of his family. I find this to be both mysterious and impressive.
There were other ways God could have sent a Savior to the world: as a reigning king who was part of a royal family; as a harsh Dictator who insisted on loyalty; as a successful Warrior who gained followers through violence; or as a Student who initiated a revolution. But a helpless infant? Fascinating. I believe God simply wanted him to be like us, all the way.
Because of his start-to-finish humanity, we have confidence he understands our plight. Whatever we’ve felt, he’s felt. Whatever temptations we’ve had, he’s had. Whatever disappointment, fear or sadness we’ve experienced, he’s experienced. Knowing he didn’t have to limit himself to human flesh but did it anyway makes us want to get close to him. Only true love could prompt such a choice, and we find ourselves loving him because he loved us first.
And this is the miracle of Christmas. The loving plan of his coming to us was the only way we could eventually go to him. And although the Christ child’s infant mind wasn’t thinking about it, his willingness to be born as a baby was step #1 to making salvation possible.
And after Mary and Joseph coaxed newborn Jesus to sleep those first few nights of his human life, I’m sure they knelt next to his manger-bed and said, as all young parents (including Hans and Katy) say, “Isn’t he angelic?”
The only difference was, their baby had actually created angels and was far above being angelic.
“The Word became human and made his home among us. He came into the very world he created.” (John 1:14,10a)