The wonder of this child

I found myself down on the floor, watching in amazement as one of my youngest grandchildren explored our living room.

She’s nine months old and learning something new every day. She and her parents had just arrived from their travels home for Christmas. The moment she hit the floor, the little commando bee-lined for a basket of toys. It wasn’t long before she crawled to the coffee table, pulled herself up and, grinning ear to ear, banged it like a set of bongo drums. Inquisitive eyes darted about the room, taking in everything that glittered and sparkled. Next, we were off to the stairs where we discovered she’d begun mastering the ascent. Up she went, like a prancing pony, slowly slapping each step as she drew herself higher, stopping only to glance over her shoulder at grandma, as if to ask, “Are you watching?” Then, moments later, we were in the kitchen watching Miss Sticky Fingers grip the life out of a banana, exploring its sweet, creamy texture.

As I swept her into my arms, studying those chubby little fingers, rosy lips and twinkling eyes, I couldn’t help but wonder what other things she’d soon be learning in her world of exploration and discovery. I pondered all the “firsts” which had come her way and the ones which still awaited her on the horizon? 

Lost deep in thought, my mind began to drift toward another child and all His firsts.

Lying in that manger, what were the first sights and sounds that greeted Him?

As He grew, when did he first notice the bleating sheep and lowing cows? When did he first smell and taste a fresh baked loaf of Mary’s bread? When did he first crawl, cry, smile or laugh?

Falling deeper into my curious pondering, I wondered at this child. When did He take His first step with those tiny feet that once walked the corridors of eternity and would one day walk on water?

When did He first count to five on those fingers that once carved out the seas and would one day write mysteriously in the sand offering hope to a shamed and broken woman caught in adultery?

When did He first kneel down on those knees that once stooped to create humanity out of the dust and would one day bend in servanthood as He washed His disciples’ feet?

When did tears first trickle down those rosy cheeks which would one day bear the tears of a heart broken over the lost souls of Jerusalem?

When did He first drink the nectar of the vine which He would one day miraculously transform from water?

When was His helpless body first wrapped in warm garments, the same being who was once wrapped in the garments of light and would one day be clothed in glory forever and ever?

When did He first experience a soft kiss from the loving lips of His mother, a kiss which would one day be mocked by the lips of a betrayer?

When did He first sing songs of praise like He once sang over His creation and would one day sing hymns alongside His disciples on the night of His arrest?

When did He first grip His mother’s finger with those pudgy hands that once formed the stars of the heavens and would one day be nailed to the cross?

When did He first cry with that tiny voice that once called creation into being and would one day cry out, “It is finished?”

When did He get His first bruise on the soft skin that would one day be beaten and pierced with the fury of judgment which was rightfully ours?

I wondered about all this as the words of the prophet Isaiah surfaced in my heart: “Here is your God!”

Really? This tiny child in a manger, with all these “firsts” looming in His future? This is my God? When does God need to learn anything? Really? This is my God? This small bundle of pink flesh? What kind of God is this?

Lost in the wonderment of this child, I couldn’t help but be humbled by this amazing God. What kind of God would forego all His eternal glory, to voluntarily clothe Himself in the limits of humanity? What would motivate Him to perform such an unthinkable act of humility?

Then I remembered the words of I Timothy 1:15, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” What we celebrate at Christmas is really as simple as that. Paul put it this way in Romans 5:8, “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is why Jesus came. This is what Christmas is all about. Amazing!

Lying in a manger, the chorus of heaven proclaimed, “Here is your God!” The God of creation, clothed in flesh, born to die, for you and me.

These thoughts all flashed in a millisecond as I held my granddaughter tightly. And like that, I was snapped back into the present, holding a squirming nine-month-old who wanted grandpa’s attention. So, for a moment, I held her a little tighter, as the amazement of our God lingered.

Merry Christmas.

Scott Joy and his wife Linda grew up in the Alpena area. Through their 32 years of marriage and ministry, they have served churches in South Dakota and Alberta, Canada. After returning to Alpena, Scott is currently serving as the Lead Pastor of his home church, Word Of Life Baptist Church. They are blessed parents of 3 children and grandparents to 4 precious grandchildren.