What does the Baby Jesus have in common with today’s child? He did not have a car seat, a baby monitor or a fuzzy red suit that said “Baby’s First Christmas”, yet he shared the needs of all children for warmth, attention and love. His first sights and sounds were the rustle of the straw, the low moo of the cow and the quiet delight of his parents. This tiny babe had the same experience as any child born anywhere on this planet…leaving the safety of his mother’s womb and entering a world where everything was new and unfamiliar. No, he did not have to contend with the bright lights of a hospital, monitors beeping and doctors and nurses bustling around. His little eyes opened in wonder to the loving gaze of family, the warm breath of farm animals and the sounds of a barnyard. Today’s babies are adored not just from the window of the maternity ward – they are famous from day one with tons of “likes” on Facebook and Instagram.
All babies are miracles, a renewal, a piece of eternity for their families. Nothing has changed in that over the centuries. Each tiny miracle is a gift from heaven, entrusted to the care of mere mortals. Who they will become is in great part influenced by the early years of life. My prayer for parents everywhere is that we take that mission to heart, to love and protect the blessing and the promise of the little ones. Too many children in our world do not get the love, encouragement and understanding they need to grow into strong, confident and caring people.
For the baby Jesus, there was no rear facing infant seat on the donkey, just a mother’s loving arms and a father’s watchful eye. Although we have the modern conveniences, the childproof caps, the state of the art cribs and the convertible stroller, our babies have the same needs as that tiny babe in the manger…to be held, to be loved, to be honored and cherished. So many of the tragedies in our world stem from lack of a quality foundation for children. If we see the hope and promise in a troubled teen and a stubborn toddler, we will have the patience and unconditional love to help them through the rough times.
My prayer for children is that their emotional needs will be met…that someone will listen and care and connect with them in ways that really matter. Every one of us has the capacity to make a positive difference in our world. Share your kindness and support with all the parents you know. We have been entrusted with an incredible task: to nurture, protect and guide those little miracles. Whether our babies are 2 or 22 or just born today, they are learning how to love by watching us!